Faculty Research & Creative Activity


The Arabidopsis SKU5 Gene Encodes an Extracellular Glycosyl Glycoprotein Involved in Directional Root GrowtPhosphatidylinositol–Anchored

Document Type


Publication Date

July 2002


To investigate how roots respond to directional cues, we characterized a T-DNA–tagged Arabidopsis mutant named sku5 in which the roots skewed and looped away from the normal downward direction of growth on inclined agar surfaces. sku5 roots and etiolated hypocotyls were slightly shorter than normal and exhibited a counterclockwise (lefthanded) axial rotation bias. The surface-dependent skewing phenotype disappeared when the roots penetrated the agar surface, but the axial rotation defect persisted, revealing that these two directional growth processes are separable. The SKU5 gene belongs to a 19-member gene family designated SKS (SKU5 Similar) that is related structurally to the multiple-copper oxidases ascorbate oxidase and laccase. However, the SKS proteins lack several of the conserved copper binding motifs characteristic of copper oxidases, and no enzymatic function could be assigned to the SKU5 protein. Analysis of plants expressing SKU5 reporter constructs and protein gel blot analysis showed that SKU5 was expressed most strongly in expanding tissues. SKU5 was glycosylated and modified by glycosyl phosphatidylinositol and localized to both the plasma membrane and the cell wall. Our observations suggest that SKU5 affects two directional growth processes, possibly by participating in cell wall expansion