Plant organelles, including the dominant chloroplasts, migrate intracellularly on cytoplasmic strands (Fig. 1A-D). The chloroplasts in the leaf cells orient and redistribute in response to light to ensure maximum photosynthetic productivity. Their orderly distribution is also essential for proper transmission of organelle genome during cell proliferation. The movement and positioning of chloroplasts have been suggested to be mediated by the actin and tubulin-based cytoskeleton in green algae and higher plants. However, the actin structures controlling these processes have not been clearly delineated because of the difficulty in preserving and detecting the fine actin filaments in plant cells using conventional fixation methods and currently available antibodies.
We investigated the role of the actin cytoskeleton in the regulation of chloroplast movement and positioning by studying: 1) the structural relationships of microfilaments and chloroplasts in leaf cells of Arabidopsis; and 2) effects of an anti-actin drug, Latrunculin B (LAT-B), on intracellular distribution of chloroplasts.