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Open Access Research

Analysis of the myosins encoded in the recently completed Arabidopsis thaliana genome sequence

Anireddy SN Reddy* and Irene S Day

Author Affiliations

Department of Biology and Program in Cell and Molecular Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA

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Genome Biology 2001, 2:research0024-research0024.17  doi:10.1186/gb-2001-2-7-research0024

Published: 3 July 2001

Abstract

Background

Three types of molecular motors play an important role in the organization, dynamics and transport processes associated with the cytoskeleton. The myosin family of molecular motors move cargo on actin filaments, whereas kinesin and dynein motors move cargo along microtubules. These motors have been highly characterized in non-plant systems and information is becoming available about plant motors. The actin cytoskeleton in plants has been shown to be involved in processes such as transportation, signaling, cell division, cytoplasmic streaming and morphogenesis. The role of myosin in these processes has been established in a few cases but many questions remain to be answered about the number, types and roles of myosins in plants.

Results

Using the motor domain of an Arabidopsis myosin we identified 17 myosin sequences in the Arabidopsis genome. Phylogenetic analysis of the Arabidopsis myosins with non-plant and plant myosins revealed that all the Arabidopsis myosins and other plant myosins fall into two groups - class VIII and class XI. These groups contain exclusively plant or algal myosins with no animal or fungal myosins. Exon/intron data suggest that the myosins are highly conserved and that some may be a result of gene duplication.

Conclusions

Plant myosins are unlike myosins from any other organisms except algae. As a percentage of the total gene number, the number of myosins is small overall in Arabidopsis compared with the other sequenced eukaryotic genomes. There are, however, a large number of class XI myosins. The function of each myosin has yet to be determined.