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.