The presence of a polar auxin transport stream has long been correlated with the differentiation and patterning of vascular cells across vascular plants. As our understanding of auxin transport and vascular development has grown, so too has evidence for the correlation between these processes. However, a clear understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms driving this correlation has not been elucidated.
Wulf et al. examine the hypothesis that canalization via polar auxin transport regulates vascular reconnection and patterning in the stem after wounding or grafting. The authors investigate the evidence for the causal nature of the relationship and the suggested role that other hormones may play. Data are presented indicating that in grafted plants the degree of auxin transport may not always correlate with vascular reconnection. Furthermore, data on grafting success using plants with a range of hormone-related mutations indicate that these hormones may not be critical for vascular reconnection.
In the past, excellent work examining elements of auxin synthesis, transport and response in relation to vascular development has been carried out. However, new experimental approaches are required to test more directly the hypothesis that auxin transport regulates stem vascular reconnection after wounding or grafting. This could include studies on the timing of the re-establishment of auxin transport and vascular reconnection after grafting and the influence of auxin transport mutants and inhibitors on these processes using live imaging.