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Gene. 2014 Jul 10;544(2):241-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2014.04.057. Epub 2014 Apr 25.

Conserved function of Rho-related Rop/RAC GTPase signaling in regulation of cell polarity in Physcomitrella patens.

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Graduate School of Life Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan.
Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0810, Japan. Electronic address:


Cell polarity is fundamentally important to growth and development in higher plants, from pollen tubes to root hairs. Basal land plants (mosses and ferns) also have cell polarity, developing protonemal apical cells that show polar tip growth. Flowering plants have a distinct group of Rho GTPases that regulate polarity in polarized cell growth. Rop/RAC signaling module components have been identified in non-flowering plants, but their roles remain unclear. To understand the importance and evolution of Rop/RAC signaling in polarity regulation in land plants, we examined the functions of PpRop and PpRopGEF in protonemal apical cells of the moss Physcomitrella patens. Inducible overexpression of PpRop2 or PpRopGEF3 caused depolarized growth of tip-growing apical cells. PpRop2 overexpression also caused aberrant cross wall formation. Fluorescent protein-tagged PpRop2 localized to the plasma membrane, including the cross wall membrane, and fluorescent-tagged PpRopGEF3 showed polarized localization to the tip region in apical cells. Thus, our results suggest common functions of PpRop and PpRopGEF in the tip-growing apical cells and the importance of a conserved Rop/RAC signaling module in the control of cell polarity in land plants.


Apical cell; Cytokinesis; Guanine nucleotide exchange factor; Land plants; Tip growth

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