Arabidopsis formin3 directs the formation of actin cables and polarized growth in pollen tubes

Plant Cell. 2009 Dec;21(12):3868-84. doi: 10.1105/tpc.109.068700. Epub 2009 Dec 18.


Cytoplasmic actin cables are the most prominent actin structures in plant cells, but the molecular mechanism underlying their formation is unknown. The function of these actin cables, which are proposed to modulate cytoplasmic streaming and intracellular movement of many organelles in plants, has not been studied by genetic means. Here, we show that Arabidopsis thaliana formin3 (AFH3) is an actin nucleation factor responsible for the formation of longitudinal actin cables in pollen tubes. The Arabidopsis AFH3 gene encodes a 785-amino acid polypeptide, which contains a formin homology 1 (FH1) and a FH2 domain. In vitro analysis revealed that the AFH3 FH1FH2 domains interact with the barbed end of actin filaments and have actin nucleation activity in the presence of G-actin or G actin-profilin. Overexpression of AFH3 in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) pollen tubes induced excessive actin cables, which extended into the tubes' apices. Specific downregulation of AFH3 eliminated actin cables in Arabidopsis pollen tubes and reduced the level of actin polymers in pollen grains. This led to the disruption of the reverse fountain streaming pattern in pollen tubes, confirming a role for actin cables in the regulation of cytoplasmic streaming. Furthermore, these tubes became wide and short and swelled at their tips, suggesting that actin cables may regulate growth polarity in pollen tubes. Thus, AFH3 regulates the formation of actin cables, which are important for cytoplasmic streaming and polarized growth in pollen tubes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / cytology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasmic Streaming
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / cytology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Pollen Tube / growth & development*
  • Pollen Tube / metabolism
  • RNA, Plant / genetics


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNA, Plant