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Plant Physiol. 2001 Jan;125(1):241-51.

Dynamic localization of rop GTPases to the tonoplast during vacuole development.

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  • 1Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside, California 92521, USA.


Vacuoles are essential pleomorphic organelles that undergo dynamic changes during cell growth and differentiation in plants. How developmental signals are linked to vacuole biogenesis and development is poorly understood. In this report, we show that a Rop GTPase is localized to developing vacuoles in pea (Pisum sativum cv Extra Early Alaska). Rop belongs to the RHO family of Ras-related small GTP-binding proteins that are key molecular switches in a wide variety of eukaryotic signal transduction pathways. Using indirect immunofluorescence and an anti-Rop antibody, we showed that Rop proteins accumulate to high levels in rapidly growing tapetal cells of pea anthers. In these cells, Rop is localized to an endomembrane system that exists as dynamic pleomorphic networks: a perinuclear fine network decorated with punctate dots, a network composed of small spheres and tubules, and interconnected chambers. Colocalization with a tonoplast annexin VCaB42 shows that these dynamic networks represent the tonoplast. Our results suggest that the dynamic Rop-containing tonoplast networks represent a unique stage of vacuole development. The specific localization of Rop to developing vacuoles supports a role for Rop in signal transduction that mediates vacuole development in plants.

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