Among the most fascinated properties of the plant hormone auxin is its ability to promote formation of its own directional transport routes. These gradually narrowing auxin channels form from the auxin source toward the sink and involve coordinated, collective polarization of individual cells. Once established, the channels provide positional information, along which new vascular strands form, for example, during organogenesis, regeneration, or leave venation. The main prerequisite of this still mysterious auxin canalization mechanism is a feedback between auxin signaling and its directional transport. This is manifested by auxin-induced re-arrangements of polar, subcellular localization of PIN-FORMED (PIN) auxin exporters. Immanent open questions relate to how position of auxin source and sink as well as tissue context are sensed and translated into tissue polarization and how cells communicate to polarize coordinately. Recently, identification of the first molecular players opens new avenues into molecular studies of this intriguing example of self-organizing plant development.
Keywords: Auxin canalization; Auxin signaling; Auxin transport; PIN polarity; PIN trafficking; Vasculature formation.
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