Cytokinin modulates cellular trafficking and the cytoskeleton, enhancing defense responses

Lorena Pizarro*, Daniela Munoz, Iftah Marash, Rupali Gupta, Gautam Anand, Meirav Leibman-Markus, Maya Bar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The plant hormone cytokinin (CK) plays central roles in plant development and throughout plant life. The perception of CKs initiating their signaling cascade is mediated by histidine kinase receptors (AHKs). Traditionally thought to be perceived mostly at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) due to receptor localization, CK was recently reported to be perceived at the plasma membrane (PM), with CK and its AHK receptors being trafficked between the PM and the ER. Some of the downstream mechanisms CK employs to regulate developmental processes are unknown. A seminal report in this field demonstrated that CK regulates auxin-mediated lateral root organogenesis by regulating the endocytic recycling of the auxin carrier PIN1, but since then, few works have addressed this issue. Modulation of the cellular cytoskeleton and trafficking could potentially be a mechanism executing responses downstream of CK signaling. We recently reported that CK affects the trafficking of the pattern recognition receptor LeEIX2, influencing the resultant defense output. We have also recently found that CK affects cellular trafficking and the actin cytoskeleton in fungi. In this work, we take an in-depth look at the effects of CK on cellular trafficking and on the actin cytoskeleton in plant cells. We find that CK influences the actin cytoskeleton and endomembrane compartments, both in the context of defense signaling—where CK acts to amplify the signal—as well as in steady state. We show that CK affects the distribution of FLS2, increasing its presence in the plasma membrane. Furthermore, CK enhances the cellular response to flg22, and flg22 sensing activates the CK response. Our results are in agreement with what we previously reported for fungi, suggesting a fundamental role for CK in regulating cellular integrity and trafficking as a mechanism for controlling and executing CK-mediated processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1634
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Actin
  • Cytokinin
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Endocytosis
  • Induced resistance
  • Plant immunity


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