Recycling, clustering, and endocytosis jointly maintain PIN auxin carrier polarity at the plasma membrane

Jürgen Kleine-Vehn, Krzysztof Wabnik, Alexandre Martinière, Łukasz Łangowski, Katrin Willig, Satoshi Naramoto, Johannes Leitner, Hirokazu Tanaka, Stefan Jakobs, Stéphanie Robert, Christian Luschnig, Willy Govaerts, Stefan W Hell, John Runions, Jir̂í Friml

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

177 Citations (Scopus)


Cell polarity reflected by asymmetric distribution of proteins at the plasma membrane is a fundamental feature of unicellular and multicellular organisms. It remains conceptually unclear how cell polarity is kept in cell wall-encapsulated plant cells. We have used super-resolution and semi-quantitative live-cell imaging in combination with pharmacological, genetic, and computational approaches to reveal insights into the mechanism of cell polarity maintenance in Arabidopsis thaliana. We show that polar-competent PIN transporters for the phytohormone auxin are delivered to the center of polar domains by super-polar recycling. Within the plasma membrane, PINs are recruited into non-mobile membrane clusters and their lateral diffusion is dramatically reduced, which ensures longer polar retention. At the circumventing edges of the polar domain, spatially defined internalization of escaped cargos occurs by clathrin-dependent endocytosis. Computer simulations confirm that the combination of these processes provides a robust mechanism for polarity maintenance in plant cells. Moreover, our study suggests that the regulation of lateral diffusion and spatially defined endocytosis, but not super-polar exocytosis have primary importance for PIN polarity maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number540
JournalMolecular Systems Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Stimulated Emission Depletion microscopy (STED)
  • cell polarity
  • membrane trafficking
  • modeling
  • systems biology
  • trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Recycling, clustering, and endocytosis jointly maintain PIN auxin carrier polarity at the plasma membrane'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this