Actin is bundled in activation-tagged tobacco mutants that tolerate aluminum
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A panel of aluminum-tolerant (AlRes) mutants was isolated by protoplast-based T-DNA activation tagging in the tobacco cultivar SR1. The mutants fell into two phenotypic classes: a minority of the mutants were fertile and developed similarly to the wild type (type I), the majority was male-sterile and grew as semi-dwarfs (type II). These traits, along with the aluminum tolerance, were inherited in a monogenic dominant manner. Both types of mutants were characterized by excessive bundling of actin microfilaments and by a strongly increased abundance of actin, a phenotype that could be partially phenocopied in the wild type by treatment with aluminum chloride. The actin bundles could be dissociated into finer strands by addition of exogenous auxin in both types of mutants. However, actin microfilaments and leaf expansion were sensitive to blockers of actin assembly in the wild type and in the mutants of type I, whereas they were more tolerant in the mutants of type II. The mutants of type II displayed a hypertrophic development of vasculature, manifest in form of supernumerary leaf veins and extended xylem layers in stems and petioles. Whereas mutants of type I were characterized by a normal, but aluminum-tolerant polar auxin-transport, auxin-transport was strongly promoted in the mutants of type II. The phenotype of these mutants is discussed in terms of reduced endocytosis leading, concomitantly with aluminum tolerance, to changes in polar auxin transport.
KeywordsActin microfilaments Activation tagging Aluminum tolerance Auxin transport male sterility tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.)
Murashige and Skoog medium
This work was supported by a Volkswagen-Foundation Young Researcher Group Grant (Nachwuchsgruppe) to PN.
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