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Molecular & Cellular Biology
Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
formin, moss, actin, cytoskeleton
Formin proteins, important regulators of a cell's actin cytoskeleton, nucleate actin polymerization and promote filament elongation. Actin dynamics are crucial for a form of polarized growth termed tip growth that is performed by cells involved in reproduction and nutrient uptake in plants. Uncovering the molecular basis of how actin associated proteins like formins control actin dynamics is important to gain a fundamental understanding of plant growth mechanisms. In the moss Physcomitrella patens, there are 9 formin genes that group into three distinct classes (I, II and III). From previous work, we suspect that class I formins may play a role in cytokinesis. Thus, I investigated how class I formins localize in tip-growing protonemal cells to gain further insight into their function. To do this, I tagged class I formins with GFP at the endogenous locus and visualized their subcellular localization using confocal microscopy. I found that Formin 1A, 1D, 1E and 1F localize to punctate spots on the plasma membrane and may concentrate at the cell plate during cell division, while 1B localizes to the cytosol. Overall, these data have shown that class I formins may play a role in cell division and potentially in the secretory pathway.