Advances in microscopy techniques applied to living cells have dramatically transformed our view of the actin cytoskeleton as a framework for cellular processes. Conventional fluorescence imaging and static analyses are useful for quantifying cellular architecture and the network of filaments that support vesicle trafficking, organelle movement, and response to biotic stress. However, new imaging techniques have revealed remarkably dynamic features of individual actin filaments and the mechanisms that underpin their construction and turnover. In this review, we briefly summarize knowledge about actin and actin-binding proteins in plant systems. We focus on the quantitative properties of the turnover of individual actin filaments, highlight actin-binding proteins that participate in actin dynamics, and summarize the current genetic evidence that has been used to dissect specific aspects of the stochastic dynamics model. Finally, we describe some signaling pathways in which recent data implicate changes in actin filament dynamics and the associated cytoplasmic responses.
Keywords: actin; actin-binding proteins; cytoskeletal dynamics; live-cell imaging; signal transduction.