Lifeact-mEGFP reveals a dynamic apical F-actin network in tip growing plant cells

PLoS One. 2009 May 29;4(5):e5744. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005744.


Background: Actin is essential for tip growth in plants. However, imaging actin in live plant cells has heretofore presented challenges. In previous studies, fluorescent probes derived from actin-binding proteins often alter growth, cause actin bundling and fail to resolve actin microfilaments.

Methodology/principal findings: In this report we use Lifeact-mEGFP, an actin probe that does not affect the dynamics of actin, to visualize actin in the moss Physcomitrella patens and pollen tubes from Lilium formosanum and Nicotiana tobaccum. Lifeact-mEGFP robustly labels actin microfilaments, particularly in the apex, in both moss protonemata and pollen tubes. Lifeact-mEGFP also labels filamentous actin structures in other moss cell types, including cells of the gametophore.

Conclusions/significance: Lifeact-mEGFP, when expressed at optimal levels does not alter moss protonemal or pollen tube growth. We suggest that Lifeact-mEGFP represents an exciting new versatile probe for further studies of actin's role in tip growing plant cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / pharmacology
  • Bryopsida / cytology
  • Bryopsida / drug effects
  • Bryopsida / growth & development
  • Cell Polarity* / drug effects
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / drug effects
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lilium / cytology
  • Lilium / drug effects
  • Lilium / growth & development
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Phalloidine / metabolism
  • Plant Cells*
  • Plant Development*
  • Plants / drug effects
  • Pollen Tube / cytology
  • Pollen Tube / drug effects
  • Pollen Tube / growth & development
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Thiazolidines / pharmacology
  • Tissue Fixation
  • Tobacco / cytology
  • Tobacco / drug effects
  • Tobacco / growth & development


  • Actins
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Thiazolidines
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Phalloidine
  • latrunculin B