Cytokinins (CKs) are phytohormones structurally similar to purines that play important roles in various aspects of plant physiology and development. The local and long-distance distribution of CKs is very important to control their action throughout the plant body. Over the past decade, several novel CK transporters have been described, many of which have been linked to a physiological function rather than simply their ability to transport the hormone in vitro. Purine permeases, equilibrative nucleotide transporters and ATP-binding cassette transporters are involved in the local and long-range distribution of CK. In addition, members of the Arabidopsis AZA-GUANINE RESISTANT (AZG) protein family, AZG1 and AZG2, have recently been shown to mediate CK uptake at the plasma membrane and endoplasmic reticulum. Despite sharing ∼50% homology, AZG1 and AZG2 have unique transport mechanisms, tissue-specific expression patterns, and subcellular localizations that underlie their distinct physiological functions. AZG2 is expressed in a small group of cells in the overlying tissue around the lateral root primordia, where its expression is induced by auxins and it is involved in the regulation of lateral root growth. AZG1 is ubiquitously expressed, with high levels in the division zone of the root apical meristem. Here, it binds and stabilises the auxin efflux carrier PIN1, thereby shaping root architecture, particularly under salt stress. This review highlights the latest findings on the protein properties, transport mechanisms and cellular functions of this new family of CK transporters and discusses perspectives for future research in this field.

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