Fluorescent protein-based reporters of the actin cytoskeleton in living plant cells: Fluorophore variant, actin binding domain, and promoter considerations

Julia Dyachok, J. Alan Sparks, Fuqi Liao, Yuh Shuh Wang, Elison B. Blancaflor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Genetically encoded filamentous actin (F-actin) reporters designed based on fluorescent protein fusions to F-actin binding domains of actin regulatory proteins have emerged as powerful tools to decipher the role of the actin cytoskeleton in plant growth and development. However, these probes could interfere with the function of endogenous actin binding proteins and in turn impact actin organization and plant growth. We therefore surveyed F-actin labeling and compared organ growth in Arabidopsis thaliana lines expressing a variety of F-actin markers. Here we show that the variant of fluorescent protein, type of actin binding domain, and the promoter that drives reporter expression can influence the quality of F-actin labeling particularly in stable plant lines. For example, older red fluorescent protein (RFP)-based probes such as DsRed2 and mOrange induced more aberrant labeling compared to the newer RFP-based, mCherry, GFP, and GFP-derived fluorophores such as YFP and CFP. Moreover, qualitative and quantitative analyses revealed differences in F-actin organization in seedlings expressing Talin- and Lifeact-based reporters in some cell types compared to the fimbrin actin binding domain 2 (ABD2)-based reporters. Finally, the use of the ubiquitin10 (UBQ10) promoter to drive expression of the GFP-ABD2-GFP probe minimized loss of fluorescence and growth defects observed in the 35S-driven version. Taken together, this study shows that care must be taken in the interpretation of data derived from stable expression of certain F-actin reporters and that using alternative promoters such as UBQ10 can overcome some of the pitfalls that accompany the use of in vivo F-actin probes in plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-327
Number of pages17
JournalCytoskeleton
Volume71
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Arabidopsis
  • Fluorescent proteins
  • Live cell microscopy
  • Plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology

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