Various investigations have suggested that cytoplasmic streaming in characean algae is driven by interaction between subcortical actin bundles and endoplasmic myosin. To further test this hypothesis, we have perfused cytotoxic actin-binding drugs and fluorescent actin labels into the cytoplasm of streaming Chara cells. Confirming earlier work, we find that cytochalasin B (CB) reversibly inhibits streaming. In direct contrast to earlier investigators, who have found phalloidin to be a potent inhibitor of movement in amoeba, slime mold, and fibroblastic cells, we find that phalloidin does not inhibit streaming in Chara but does modify the inhibitory effect of CB. Use of two fluorescent actin probes, fluorescein, isothiocyanate-heavy meromyosin (FITC-HMM) and nitrobenzoxadiazole-phallacidin (NBD-Ph), has permitted visualization of the effects of CB and phalloidin on the actin bundles. FITC-HMM labeling in perfused but nonstreaming cells has revealed a previously unobserved alteration of the actin bundles by CB. Phalloidin alone does not perceptibly alter the actin bundles but does block the alteration by CB if applied as a pretreatment, NBD-Ph perfused into the cytoplasm of streaming cells stains actin bundles without inhibiting streaming. NBD-Ph staining of actin bundles is not initially observed in cells inhibited by CB but does appear simultaneously with the recovery of streaming as CB leaks from the cells. The observations reported here are consistent with the established effects of phallotoxins and CB on actin in vitro and support the hypothesis that streaming is generated by actin-myosin interactions.
Fluorescence studies on modes of cytochalasin B and phallotoxin action on cytoplasmic streaming in Chara.
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E A Nothnagel, L S Barak, J W Sanger, W W Webb; Fluorescence studies on modes of cytochalasin B and phallotoxin action on cytoplasmic streaming in Chara.. J Cell Biol 1 February 1981; 88 (2): 364–372. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.88.2.364
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