A groundbreaking study by Yoshida, Hakozaki, and Goshima (2023) has identified the long-sought-after versatile anterograde transporter in plants. This discovery of a motor functionally equivalent to conventional kinesin, known as Kinesin-1, has significant implications for plant biology.
Kinesin-1 is widely used for microtubule plus-end-directed (anterograde) transport of various cargos in animal cells. However, until now, no equivalent motor has been identified in plants, which lack the kinesin-1 genes. The researchers discovered that plant-specific armadillo repeat-containing kinesin (ARK) is a versatile anterograde transporter in plants.
The study focused on ARK mutants of the moss Physcomitrium patens and found that the anterograde motility of nuclei, chloroplasts, mitochondria, and secretory vesicles was suppressed in these mutants. Additionally, the research team discovered another prominent macroscopic phenotype of ARK mutants was the suppression of cell tip growth.
According to the study, ARK mutants have growth defects because the actin regulators, such as RopGEFs, are not in the right place. However, the growth problem can be improved by partially restoring the expression and positioning of RopGEF3 at the top of the plant. Similar functions to ARK were found in ARK homologues in Arabidopsis thaliana, suggesting that these functions are common among plants.
This breakthrough in understanding the anterograde transporter in plants can unlock new avenues of research in plant biology, ultimately leading to advancements in agriculture and plant-based industries. By further investigating the role of ARK in plants, scientists can develop novel approaches to optimize plant growth, adaptability, and productivity.
Read the rest of the study by Yoshida, Hakozaki, and Goshima (2023) here.
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