Cytoplasmic streaming is a ubiquitous process in plant cells that is thought to be driven by the active movement of myosin XI motor proteins along actin filaments. These myosin motors bind to organelles through their C-terminal globular tail domain, although recent studies have also suggested a role for the central coiled-coil region during organelle binding. Here we have investigated the relationship between these two protein domains of MYA1, an Arabidopsis myosin XI, in a series of in vivo experiments demonstrating that dimerization of the coiled-coil region stabilizes organelle binding of the globular tail. Surprisingly, yeast two-hybrid assays, bimolecular fluorescence complementation, Förster resonance energy transfer and in vitro pull-down experiments all demonstrated that dimerization of the 174-residue MYA1 coiled coils by themselves was unstable. Furthermore, only the first of the two major coiled-coil segments in MYA1 contributed significantly to dimer formation. Interestingly, dimerization of myosin tail constructs that included the organelle-binding globular tail was stable, although the globular tails by themselves did not interact. This suggests an inter-dependent relationship between dimerization and organelle binding in myosin XI, whereby each process synergistically stimulates the other.
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