Recognizing Plant Physiology first authors: Minxia Zou

Minxia Zou, first author of The auxin transport inhibitor targets villin-mediated actin dynamics to inhibit auxin transport

Current Position: PhD candidate in College of Life Science, Beijing Normal University

Education: Sept 2019 – now, Ph.D. candidate in Beijing Normal University; Sept 2011 – June 2015, Bachelor in Changsha University of Science and Technology

Non-scientific Interests: Reading, Travel, DIY

Brief bio: I am a PhD student supervised by professor Jiejie Li in Beijing Normal University. Attracted by the amazing phenomena of actin cytoskeleton dynamic in plant cell, I made up my mind to devote my future research efforts to investigate how this structure responds to internal and environmental signals. In this study, we characterized the action of 2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid (TIBA) on actin dynamics in greater mechanistic detail. By surveying mutants for candidate actin-binding proteins with reduced TIBA sensitivity, we determined that Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) villins contribute to TIBA action. By directly interacting with the C-terminal headpiece domain of villins, TIBA causes villin to oligomerize, driving excessive bundling of actin filaments. The resulting changes in actin dynamics impair auxin transport by disrupting the trafficking of PIN auxin efflux carriers and reducing their levels at the plasma membrane (PM). Collectively, our study provides mechanistic insight into the link between the actin cytoskeleton, vesicle trafficking, and auxin transport.