Protein prenylation is required for a variety of growth and developmental processes in flowering plants. Here we report the consequences of loss of function of all known prenylation subunits in the moss Physcomitrella patens. As in Arabidopsis, protein farnesyltransferase and protein geranylgeranyltransferase type I are not required for viability. However, protein geranylgeranyltransferase type I activity is required for cell adhesion, polar cell elongation, and cell differentiation. Loss of protein geranylgeranyltransferase activity results in colonies of round, single-celled organisms that resemble unicellular algae. The loss of protein farnesylation is not as severe but also results in polar cell elongation and differentiation defects. The complete loss of Rab geranylgeranyltransferase activity appears to be lethal in P. patens. Labeling with antibodies to cell wall components support the lack of polarity establishment and the undifferentiated state of geranylgeranyltransferase type I mutant plants. Our results show that prenylated proteins play key roles in P. patens development and differentiation processes.
Keywords: Physcomitrella patens; farnesylation; geranylgeranylation; prenylation; protein farnesyltransferase; protein geranylgeranyltransferase.
© 2014 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.