Leaves form veins whose patterns vary from a single vein running the length of the leaf to networks of staggering complexity where huge numbers of veins connect to other veins at both ends. For the longest time, vein formation was thought to be controlled only by the polar, cell-to-cell transport of the plant hormone auxin; recent evidence suggests that is not so. Instead, it turns out that vein patterning features are best accounted for by a combination of polar auxin transport, facilitated auxin diffusion through plasmodesmata intercellular channels, and auxin signal transduction—though the latter's precise contribution remains unclear. Equally unclear remain the sites of auxin production during leaf development, on which that vein patterning mechanism ought to depend. Finally, whether that vein patterning mechanism can account for the variety of vein arrangements found in nature remains unknown. Addressing those questions will be the exciting challenge of future research.

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 75 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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