Profilin is a low-molecular weight, actin monomer-binding protein that regulates the organization of actin cytoskeleton in eukaryotes, including higher plants. Unlike the simple human or yeast systems, the model plant Arabidopsis has an ancient and highly divergent multi-gene family encoding five distinct profilin isovariants. Here we compare and characterize the regulation of these profilins in different organs and during microspore development using isovariant-specific monoclonal antibodies. We show that PRF1, PRF2, and PRF3 are constitutive, being strongly expressed in all vegetative tissues at various stages of development. These profilin isovariants are also predominant in ovules and microspores at the early stages of microsporogenesis. In contrast, PRF4 and PRF5 are late pollen-specific and are not detectable in other cell types of the plant body including microspores and root hairs. Immunocytochemical studies at the subcellular level reveal that both the constitutive and pollen-specific profilins are abundant in the cytoplasm. In vegetative cell types, such as root apical cells, profilins showed localization to nuclei in addition to the cytoplasmic staining. The functional diversity of profilin isovariants is discussed in light of their spatio-temporal regulation during vegetative development, pollen maturation, and pollen tube growth.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.