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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jul 9, 1996; 93(14): 7415–7420.

Pollen specific expression of maize genes encoding actin depolymerizing factor-like proteins.


In pollen development, a dramatic reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton takes place during the passage of the pollen grain into dormancy and on activation of pollen tube growth. A role for actin-binding proteins is implicated and we report here the identification of a small gene family in maize that encodes actin depolymerizing factor (ADF)-like proteins. The ADF group of proteins are believed to control actin polymerization and depolymerization in response to both intracellular and extracellular signals. Two of the maize genes ZmABP1 and ZmABP2 are expressed specifically in pollen and germinating pollen suggesting that the protein products may be involved in pollen actin reorganization. A third gene, ZmABP3, encodes a protein only 56% and 58% identical to ZmABP1 and ZmABP2, respectively, and its expression is suppressed in pollen and germinated pollen. The fundamental biochemical characteristics of the ZmABP proteins has been elucidated using bacterially expressed ZmABP3 protein. This has the ability to bind monomeric actin (G-actin) and filamentous actin (F-actin). Moreover, it decreases the viscosity of polymerized actin solutions consistent with an ability to depolymerize filaments. These biochemical characteristics, taken together with the sequence comparisons, support the inclusion of the ZmABP proteins in the ADF group.

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