Background Plant body plans arise by the activity of meristematic growing tips during development and radiated independently in the gametophyte (n) and sporophyte (2n) stages of the life cycle during evolution. Although auxin and its intercellular transport by PIN family efflux carriers are primary regulators of sporophytic shoot development in flowering plants, the extent of conservation in PIN function within the land plants and the mechanisms regulating bryophyte gametophytic shoot development are largely unknown. Results We have found that treating gametophytic shoots of the moss Physcomitrella patens with exogenous auxins and auxin transport inhibitors disrupts apical function and leaf development. Two plasma membrane-targeted PIN proteins are expressed in leafy shoots, and pin mutants resemble plants treated with auxins or auxin transport inhibitors. PIN-mediated auxin transport regulates apical cell function, leaf initiation, leaf shape, and shoot tropisms in moss gametophytes. pin mutant sporophytes are sometimes branched, reproducing a phenotype only previously seen in the fossil record and in rare natural moss variants. Conclusions Our results show that PIN-mediated auxin transport is an ancient, conserved regulator of shoot development.
Bennett, T. A., Liu, M. M., Aoyama, T., Bierfreund, N. M., Braun, M., Coudert, Y., … Harrison, C. J. (2014). Plasma membrane-targeted PIN proteins drive shoot development in a moss. Current Biology, 24(23), 2776–2785. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.09.054