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Open Access Research article

Head-neck domain of Arabidopsis myosin XI, MYA2, fused with GFP produces F-actin patterns that coincide with fast organelle streaming in different plant cells

Nadine Walter and Carola L Holweg*

Author Affiliations

University of Freiburg, Biology II, Schänzlestrasse 1, 79104 Freiburg, Germany

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BMC Plant Biology 2008, 8:74  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-8-74

Published: 3 July 2008

Abstract

Background

The cytoskeletal mechanisms that underlie organelle transport in plants are intimately linked to acto-myosin function. This function is mediated by the attachment of myosin heads to F-actin and the binding of cargo to the tails. Acto-myosin also powers vigorous cytoplasmic streaming in plant cells. Class XI myosins exhibit strikingly fast velocities and may have extraordinary roles in cellular motility. Studies of the structural basis of organelle transport have focused on the cargo-binding tails of myosin XI, revealing a close relationship with the transport of peroxisomes, mitochondria, and Golgi-vesicles. Links between myosin heads and F-actin-based motility have been less investigated. To address this function, we performed localization studies using the head-neck domain of AtMYA2, a myosin XI from Arabidopsis.

Results

We expressed the GFP-fused head-neck domain of MYA2 in epidermal cells of various plant species and found that it associated with F-actin. By comparison to other markers such as fimbrin and talin, we revealed that the myosin-labeled F-actin was of a lower quality and absent from the fine microfilament arrays at the cell cortex. However, it colocalized with cytoplasmic (transvacuolar) F-actin in areas coinciding with the tracks of fast organelles. This observation correlates well with the proposed function of myosin XI in organelle trafficking. The fact that organelle streaming was reduced in cells expressing the GFP-MYA2-head6IQ indicated that the functionless motor protein inhibits endogenous myosins. Furthermore, co-expression of the GFP-MYA2-head6IQ with other F-actin markers disrupted its attachment to F-actin. In nuclei, the GFP-myosin associated with short bundles of F-actin.

Conclusion

The localization of the head of MYA2 in living plant cells, as investigated here for the first time, suggests a close linkage between this myosin XI and cytoplasmic microfilaments that support the rapid streaming of organelles such as peroxisomes. Potential roles of MYA2 may also exist in the cell nucleus. Whether the low quality of the F-actin-labeling by MYA2-head6IQ compared to other F-actin-binding proteins (ABPs) signifies a weak association of the myosin with actin filaments remains to be proven by other means than in vivo. Clues for the mode of contact between the myosin molecules and F-actin so far cannot be drawn from sequence-related data.