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Int Rev Cytol. 2006;252:219-64.

Organization and function of the actin cytoskeleton in developing root cells.

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  • 1Plant Biology Division, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73401, USA.


The actin cytoskeleton is a highly dynamic structure, which mediates various cellular functions in large part through accessory proteins that tilt the balance between monomeric G-actin and filamentous actin (F-actin) or by facilitating interactions between actin and the plasma membrane, microtubules, and other organelles. Roots have become an attractive model to study actin in plant development because of their simple anatomy and accessibility of some root cell types such as root hairs for microscopic analyses. Roots also exhibit a remarkable developmental plasticity and possess a delicate sensory system that is easily manipulated, so that one can design experiments addressing a range of important biological questions. Many facets of root development can be regulated by the diverse actin network found in the various root developmental regions. Various molecules impinge on this actin scaffold to define how a particular root cell type grows or responds to a specific environmental signal. Although advances in genomics are leading the way toward elucidating actin function in roots, more significant strides will be realized when such tools are combined with improved methodologies for accurately depicting how actin is organized in plant cells.

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