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Free Content Arabidopsis actin gene ACT7 plays an essential role in germination and root growth

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Arabidopsis contains eight actin genes. Of these ACT7 is the most strongly expressed in young plant tissues and shows the greatest response to physiological cues. Adult plants homozygous for the act7 mutant alleles show no obvious above-ground phenotypes, which suggests a high degree of functional redundancy among plant actins. However, act7-1 mutant plants are at a strong selective disadvantage when grown in competition with wild-type plants and therefore must have undetected physical defects. The act7-1 and act7-4 alleles contain T-DNA insertions just after the stop codon and within the first intron, respectively. Homozygous mutant seedlings of both alleles showed less than 7% of normal ACT7 protein levels. Mutants displayed delayed and less efficient germination, increased root twisting and waving, and retarded root growth. The act7-4 mutant showed the most dramatic reduction in root growth. The act7-4 root apical cells were not in straight files and contained oblique junctions between cells suggesting a possible role for ACT7 in determining cell polarity. Wild-type root growth was fully restored to the act7-1 mutant by the addition of an exogenous copy of the ACT7 gene. T-DNA insertions just downstream of the major polyadenylation sites (act7-2, act7-3) appeared fully wild type. The act7 mutant phenotypes demonstrate a significant requirement for functional ACT7 protein during root development and explain the strong negative selection component seen for the act7-1 mutant.
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Keywords: 3′ untranslated region; cytoskeleton; functional redundancy; plant actin mutants; root growth; seed viability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biochemistry, 215 Biochemistry Building, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA, and 2: Department of Genetics, Life Sciences Building, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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