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      The promotion of gravitropism in Arabidopsis roots upon actin disruption is coupled with the extended alkalinization of the columella cytoplasm and a persistent lateral auxin gradient.

      The Plant Journal
      Actins, metabolism, ultrastructure, Arabidopsis, physiology, Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic, pharmacology, Cytoplasm, Cytoskeleton, Gravitropism, Gravity Sensing, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Indoleacetic Acids, Kinetics, Plant Root Cap, cytology, Signal Transduction, Thiazoles, Thiazolidines

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          The actin cytoskeleton has been implicated in regulating plant gravitropism. However, its precise role in this process remains uncertain. We have shown previously that disruption of the actin cytoskeleton with Latrunculin B (Lat B) strongly promoted gravitropism in maize roots. These effects were most evident on a clinostat as curvature that would exceed 90 degrees despite short periods of horizontal stimulation. To probe further the cellular mechanisms underlying these enhanced gravity responses, we extended our studies to roots of Arabidopsis. Similar to our observations in other plant species, Lat B enhanced the response of Arabidopsis roots to gravity. Lat B (100 nm) and a stimulation time of 5-10 min were sufficient to induce enhanced bending responses during clinorotation. Lat B (100 nm) disrupted the fine actin filament network in different regions of the root and altered the dynamics of amyloplasts in the columella but did not inhibit the gravity-induced alkalinization of the columella cytoplasm. However, the duration of the alkalinization response during continuous gravistimulation was extended in Lat B-treated roots. Indirect visualization of auxin redistribution using the DR5:beta-glucuronidase (DR5:GUS) auxin-responsive reporter showed that the enhanced curvature of Lat B-treated roots during clinorotation was accompanied by a persistent lateral auxin gradient. Blocking the gravity-induced alkalinization of the columella cytoplasm with caged protons reduced Lat B-induced curvature and the development of the lateral auxin gradient. Our data indicate that the actin cytoskeleton is unnecessary for the initial perception of gravity but likely acts to downregulate gravitropism by continuously resetting the gravitropic-signaling system.

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