Building bridges: formin1 of Arabidopsis forms a connection between the cell wall and the actin cytoskeleton


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Actin microfilament (MF) organization and remodelling is critical to cell function. The formin family of actin binding proteins are involved in nucleating MFs in Arabidopsis thaliana. They all contain formin homology domains in the intracellular, C-terminal half of the protein that interacts with MFs. Formins in class I are usually targeted to the plasma membrane and this is true of Formin1 (AtFH1) of A. thaliana. In this study, we have investigated the extracellular domain of AtFH1 and we demonstrate that AtFH1 forms a bridge from the actin cytoskeleton, across the plasma membrane and is anchored within the cell wall. AtFH1 has a large, extracellular domain that is maintained by purifying selection and that contains four conserved regions, one of which is responsible for immobilising the protein. Protein anchoring within the cell wall is reduced in constructs that express truncations of the extracellular domain and in experiments in protoplasts without primary cell walls. The 18 amino acid proline-rich extracellular domain that is responsible for AtFH1 anchoring has homology with cell-wall extensins. We also have shown that anchoring of AtFH1 in the cell wall promotes actin bundling within the cell and that overexpression of AtFH1 has an inhibitory effect on organelle actin-dependant dynamics. Thus, the AtFH1 bridge provides stable anchor points for the actin cytoskeleton and is probably a crucial component of the signalling response and actin-remodelling mechanisms.