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Auxin Homeostasis and Distribution of the Auxin Efflux Carrier PIN2 Require Vacuolar NHX-Type Cation/H+ Antiporter Activity.


The Arabidopsis vacuolar Na+/H+ transporters (NHXs) are important regulators of intracellular pH, Na+ and K+ homeostasis and necessary for normal plant growth, development, and stress acclimation. Arabidopsis contains four vacuolar NHX isoforms known as AtNHX1 to AtNHX4. The quadruple knockout nhx1nhx2nhx3nhx4, lacking any vacuolar NHX-type antiporter activity, displayed auxin-related phenotypes including loss of apical dominance, reduced root growth, impaired gravitropism and less sensitivity to exogenous IAA and NAA, but not to 2,4-D. In nhx1nhx2nhx3nhx4, the abundance of the auxin efflux carrier PIN2, but not PIN1, was drastically reduced at the plasma membrane and was concomitant with an increase in PIN2 labeled intracellular vesicles. Intracellular trafficking to the vacuole was also delayed in the mutant. Measurements of free IAA content and imaging of the auxin sensor DII-Venus, suggest that auxin accumulates in root tips of nhx1nhx2nhx3nhx4. Collectively, our results indicate that vacuolar NHX dependent cation/H+ antiport activity is needed for proper auxin homeostasis, likely by affecting intracellular trafficking and distribution of the PIN2 efflux carrier.

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