Little is known about how cell shape is controlled. We are using the morphogenesis of trichomes (plant hairs) on the plant Arabidopsis thaliana as a model to study how cell shape is controlled. Wild-type Arabidopsis trichomes are large, single epidermal cells with a stalk and three or four branches, whereas in zwichel (zwi) mutants the trichomes have a shortened stalk and only two branches. To further understand the role of the ZWI gene in trichome morphogenesis we have cloned the wild-type ZWICHEL (ZWI) gene by T-DNA tagging, and report here that it encodes a member of the kinesin superfamily of microtubule motor proteins. Kinesin proteins transport diverse cellular materials in a directional manner along microtubules. Kinesin-like proteins are characterized by a highly conserved 'head' region that comprises the motor domain, and a nonconserved 'tail' region that is thought to participate in recognition and binding of the appropriate cargo.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 10 1997|
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