The Journal of biological chemistry

A gelsolin-like protein from Papaver rhoeas pollen (PrABP80) stimulates calcium-regulated severing and depolymerization of actin filaments.

PMID 15039433


The cytoskeleton is a key regulator of plant morphogenesis, sexual reproduction, and cellular responses to extracellular stimuli. During the self-incompatibility response of Papaver rhoeas L. (field poppy) pollen, the actin filament network is rapidly depolymerized by a flood of cytosolic free Ca2+ that results in cessation of tip growth and prevention of fertilization. Attempts to model this dramatic cytoskeletal response with known pollen actin-binding proteins (ABPs) revealed that the major G-actin-binding protein profilin can account for only a small percentage of the measured depolymerization. We have identified an 80-kDa, Ca(2+)-regulated ABP from poppy pollen (PrABP80) and characterized its biochemical properties in vitro. Sequence determination by mass spectrometry revealed that PrABP80 is related to gelsolin and villin. The molecular weight, lack of filament cross-linking activity, and a potent severing activity are all consistent with PrABP80 being a plant gelsolin. Kinetic analysis of actin assembly/disassembly reactions revealed that substoichiometric amounts of PrABP80 can nucleate actin polymerization from monomers, block the assembly of profilin-actin complex onto actin filament ends, and enhance profilin-mediated actin depolymerization. Fluorescence microscopy of individual actin filaments provided compelling, direct evidence for filament severing and confirmed the actin nucleation and barbed end capping properties. This is the first direct evidence for a plant gelsolin and the first example of efficient severing by a plant ABP. We propose that PrABP80 functions at the center of the self-incompatibility response by creating new filament pointed ends for disassembly and by blocking barbed ends from profilin-actin assembly.

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