Actin plays fundamental roles in a wide array of plant functions, including cell division, cytoplasmic streaming, cell morphogenesis and organelle motility. Imaging the actin cytoskeleton in living cells is a powerful methodology for studying these important phenomena. Several useful probes for live imaging of filamentous actin (F-actin) have been developed, but new versatile probes are still needed. Here, we report the application of a new probe called Lifeact for visualizing F-actin in plant cells. Lifeact is a short peptide comprising 17 amino acids that was derived from yeast Abp140p. We used a LifeactVenus fusion protein for staining F-actin in Arabidopsis thaliana and were able to observe dynamic rearrangements of the actin meshwork in root hair cells. We also used LifeactVenus to visualize the actin cytoskeleton in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha; this revealed unique and dynamic F-actin motility in liverwort cells. Our results suggest that Lifeact could be a useful tool for studying the actin cytoskeleton in a wide range of plant lineages.
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