A minus-end directed kinesin motor directs gravitropism in Physcomitrella patens

Gravity is a critical environmental factor regulating directional growth and morphogenesis in plants, and gravitropism is the process by which plants perceive and respond to the gravity vector. The cytoskeleton is proposed to play important roles in gravitropism, but the underlying mechanisms are obscure. Here we use genetic screening inPhyscomitrella patens, to identify a locus GTRC, that when mutated, reverses the direction of protonemal gravitropism. GTRC encodes a processive minus-end-directed KCHb kinesin, and its N-terminal, C-terminal and motor domains are all essential for transducing the gravity signal. Chimeric analysis between GTRC/KCHb and KCHa reveal a unique role for the N-terminus of GTRC in gravitropism.

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Fig: A group of mutants showing reversed gravitropic responses in Physcomitrella patens.

Further study shows that gravity-triggered normal asymmetric distribution of actin filaments in the tip of protonema is dependent on GTRC. Thus, our work identifies a microtubule-based cellular motor that determines the direction of plant gravitropism via mediating the asymmetric distribution of actin filaments.

Li, Y., Deng, Z., Kamisugi, Y. et al. A minus-end directed kinesin motor directs gravitropism in Physcomitrella patensNat Commun 12, 4470 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24546-2

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