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ACTIN2 is essential for bulge site selection and tip growth during root hair development of arabidopsis

Ringli, C., Baumberger, N., Diet, A., Frey, B., Keller, B.
Plant physiology 2002 v.129 no.4 pp. 1464-1472
root tips, seedling growth, alleles, seedlings, molecular conformation, promoter regions, phenotype, cytoskeleton, actin, Arabidopsis thaliana, missense mutation, chromosome mapping, vegetative growth, root hairs, genetic complementation, mutants, plant morphology
Root hairs develop as long extensions from root epidermal cells. After the formation of an initial bulge at the distal end of the epidermal cell, the root hair structure elongates by tip growth. Because root hairs are not surrounded by other cells, root hair formation provides an excellent system for studying the highly complex process of plant cell growth. Pharmacological experiments with actin filament-interfering drugs have provided evidence that the actin cytoskeleton is an important factor in the establishment of cell polarity and in the maintenance of the tip growth machinery at the apex of the growing root hair. However, there has been no genetic evidence to directly support this assumption. We have isolated an Arabidopsis mutant, deformed root hairs 1 (der1), that is impaired in root hair development. The DER1 locus was cloned by map-based cloning and encodes ACTIN2 (ACT2), a major actin of the vegetative tissue. The three der1 alleles develop the mutant phenotype to different degrees and are all missense mutations, thus providing the means to study the effect of partially functional ACT2. The detailed characterization of the der1 phenotypes revealed that ACT2 is not only involved in root hair tip growth, but is also required for correct selection of the bulge site on the epidermal cell. Thus, the der1 mutants are useful tools to better understand the function of the actin cytoskeleton in the process of root hair formation.