The shaping of organs in plants depends on the intercellular flow of the phytohormone auxin, of which the directional signaling is determined by the polar subcellular localization of PIN-FORMED (PIN) auxin transport proteins. Phosphorylation dynamics of PIN proteins are affected by the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and the PINOID kinase, which act antagonistically to mediate their apical-basal polar delivery. Here, we identified the ROTUNDA3 (RON3) protein as a regulator of the PP2A phosphatase activity in Arabidopsis thaliana. The RON3 gene was map-based cloned starting from the ron3-1 leaf mutant and found to be a unique, plant-specific gene coding for a protein with high and dispersed proline content. The ron3-1 and ron3-2 mutant phenotypes [i.e., reduced apical dominance, primary root length, lateral root emergence, and growth; increased ectopic stages II, IV, and V lateral root primordia; decreased auxin maxima in indole-3-acetic acid (IAA)-treated root apical meristems; hypergravitropic root growth and response; increased IAA levels in shoot apices; and reduced auxin accumulation in root meristems] support a role for RON3 in auxin biology. The affinity-purified PP2A complex with RON3 as bait suggested that RON3 might act in PIN transporter trafficking. Indeed, pharmacological interference with vesicle trafficking processes revealed that single ron3-2 and double ron3-2 rcn1 mutants have altered PIN polarity and endocytosis in specific cells. Our data indicate that RON3 contributes to auxin-mediated development by playing a role in PIN recycling and polarity establishment through regulation of the PP2A complex activity.
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