Kinesin-4 Functions in Vesicular Transport on Cortical Microtubules and Regulates Cell Wall Mechanics during Cell Elongation in Plants

Zhaosheng Kong, Motohide Ioki, Siobhan Braybrook, Shundai Li, Zheng Hua Ye, Yuh Ru Julie Lee, Takashi Hotta, Anny Chang, Juan Tian, Guangda Wang, Bo Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


In plants, anisotropic cell expansion depends on cortical microtubules that serve as tracks along which macromolecules and vesicles are transported by the motor kinesins of unknown identities. We used cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) fibers that underwent robust elongation to discover kinesins that are involved in cell elongation and found Gh KINESIN-4A expressed abundantly. The motor was detected by immunofluorescence on vesicle-like structures that were associated with cortical microtubules. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the orthologous motor At KINESIN-4A/FRA1, previously implicated in cellulose deposition during secondary growth in fiber cells, was examined by live-cell imaging in cells expressing the fluorescently tagged functional protein. The motor decorated vesicle-like particles that exhibit a linear movement along cortical microtubules with an average velocity of 0.89 μm/min, which was significantly different from those linked to cellulose biosynthesis. We also discovered that At KINESIN-4A/FRA1 and the related At KINESIN-4C play redundant roles in cell wall mechanics, cell elongation, and the axial growth of various vegetative and reproductive organs, as the loss of At KINESIN-4C greatly enhanced the defects caused by a null mutation at the KINESIN-4A/FRA1 locus. The double mutant displayed a lack of cell wall softening at normal stages of rapid cell elongation. Furthermore, enhanced deposition of arabinose-containing carbohydrate was detected in the kinesin-4 mutants. Our findings established a connection between the Kinesin-4-based transport of cargoes containing non-cellulosic components along cortical microtubules and cell wall mechanics and cell elongation in flowering plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number67
Pages (from-to)1011-1023
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular plant
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 6 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science


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