Myosin motor proteins are thought to carry out important functions in the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity by moving cellular components such as organelles, vesicles, or protein complexes along the actin cytoskeleton. In Arabidopsis thaliana, disruption of the myosin XIK gene leads to reduced elongation of the highly polar root hairs, suggesting that the encoded motor protein is involved in this cell growth. Detailed live-cell observations in this study revealed that xik root hairs elongated more slowly and stopped growth sooner than those in wild type. Overall cellular organization including the actin cytoskeleton appeared normal, but actin filament dynamics were reduced in the mutant. Accumulation of RabA4b-containing vesicles, on the other hand, was not significantly different from wild type. A functional YFP-XIK fusion protein that could complement the mutant phenotype accumulated at the tip of growing root hairs in an actin-dependent manner. The distribution of YFP-XIK at the tip, however, did not match that of the ER or several tip-enriched markers including CFP-RabA4b. We conclude that the myosin XIK is required for normal actin dynamics and plays a role in the subapical region of growing root hairs to facilitate optimal growth.
Park E, Nebenführ A (2013) Myosin XIK of Arabidopsis thaliana Accumulates at the Root Hair Tip and Is Required for Fast Root Hair Growth. PLoS ONE 8(10): e76745. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076745