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J Integr Plant Biol. 2015 Jan;57(1):40-9. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12293. Epub 2014 Dec 17.

Plant villins: versatile actin regulatory proteins.

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Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100093, China.


Regulation of actin dynamics is a central theme in cell biology that is important for different aspects of cell physiology. Villin, a member of the villin/gelsolin/fragmin superfamily of proteins, is an important regulator of actin. Villins contain six gelsolin homology domains (G1-G6) and an extra headpiece domain. In contrast to their mammalian counterparts, plant villins are expressed widely, implying that plant villins play a more general role in regulating actin dynamics. Some plant villins have a defined role in modifying actin dynamics in the pollen tube; most of their in vivo activities remain to be ascertained. Recently, our understanding of the functions and mechanisms of action for plant villins has progressed rapidly, primarily due to the advent of Arabidopsis thaliana genetic approaches and imaging capabilities that can visualize actin dynamics at the single filament level in vitro and in living plant cells. In this review, we focus on discussing the biochemical activities and modes of regulation of plant villins. Here, we present current understanding of the functions of plant villins. Finally, we highlight some of the key unanswered questions regarding the functions and regulation of plant villins for future research.


Actin bundle; actin capping; actin cytoskeleton; filament severing; villin

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