The plant-specific Rop family GTPases are versatile molecular switches in many processes during plant growth, development, and responses to the environment. To understand how Rop achieves its functional versatility in signaling, we performed a genome-wide identification of putative Rop targets using a combination of the yeast two-hybrid method, bioinformatic tools, and a robust functional assay in pollen. In this study, we have identified 11 Arabidopsis genes encoding novel proteins, termed RICs (for Rop-interactive CRIB motif-containing proteins), that contain a CRIB (for Cdc42/Rac-interactive binding) motif required for their specific interaction with GTP-bound Rop1. RICs are divergent and classified into five groups that share little sequence homology outside of the conserved Rop-interactive domain. Overexpression in tobacco pollen tubes of the nine Ric genes that are expressed in Arabidopsis pollen causes distinct phenotypes, implying distinct functions for various RICs. RIC3 (group III) and RIC4 (group V) both cause depolarized growth like Rop1 and display Rop1-enhanced localization to the tip of pollen tubes, suggesting that these RICs may be two distinct targets of Rop1. In contrast, RIC10 (group I) promotes pollen tube elongation but does not affect pollen tube growth polarity and shows Rop1-independent localization to the cytoplasm, suggesting that RIC10 may participate in a Rop1-independent pathway probably controlled by a different Rop. Expression of all other RICs causes various degrees of growth inhibition in pollen tubes. Furthermore, these inhibitory RICs also exhibit distinct patterns of localization in pollen tubes. Our results suggest that various RICs have evolved to interact with Rops differentially and to perform distinct functions in pollen tubes. Reverse transcriptase-mediated polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that six of the nine RICs are expressed in various parts of Arabidopsis plants. On the basis of these observations, we propose that RICs function as Rop GTPase targets that control various Rop-dependent signaling pathways in plants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology