Myosin VIII regulates protonemal patterning and developmental timing in the moss Physcomitrella patens

Mol Plant. 2011 Sep;4(5):909-21. doi: 10.1093/mp/ssr068. Epub 2011 Aug 25.


Plants have two classes of myosins. While recent work has focused on class XI myosins showing that myosin XI is responsible for organelle motility and cytoplasmic streaming, much less is known about the role of myosin VIII in plant growth and development. We have used a combination of RNAi and insertional knockouts to probe myosin VIII function in the moss Physcomitrella patens. We isolated Δmyo8ABCDE plants demonstrating that myosin VIII is not required for plant viability. However, myosin VIII mutants are smaller than wild-type plants in part due to a defect in cell size. Additionally, Δmyo8ABCDE plants produce more side branches and form gametophores much earlier than wild-type plants. In the absence of nutrient media, Δmyo8ABCDE plants exhibit significant protonemal patterning defects, including highly curved protonemal filaments, morphologically defective side branches, as well as an increase in the number of branches. Exogenous auxin partially rescues protonemal defects in Δmyo8ABCDE plants grown in the absence of nutrients. This result, together with defects in protonemal branching, smaller caulonemal cells, and accelerated development in the Δmyo8ABCDE plants, suggests that myosin VIII is involved in hormone homeostasis in P. patens.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bryopsida / genetics
  • Bryopsida / growth & development*
  • Bryopsida / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Myosins / genetics
  • Myosins / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Myosins