TIP GROWTH DEFECTIVE1 (TIP1) of Arabidopsis thaliana affects cell growth throughout the plant and has a particularly strong effect on root hair growth. We have identified TIP1 by map-based cloning and complementation of the mutant phenotype. TIP1 encodes an ankyrin repeat protein with a DHHC Cys-rich domain that is expressed in roots, leaves, inflorescence stems, and floral tissue. Two homologues of TIP1 in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and human (Homo sapiens) have been shown to have S-acyl transferase (also known as palmitoyl transferase) activity. S-acylation is a reversible hydrophobic protein modification that offers swift, flexible control of protein hydrophobicity and affects protein association with membranes, signal transduction, and vesicle trafficking within cells. We show that TIP1 binds the acyl group palmitate, that it can rescue the morphological, temperature sensitivity, and yeast casein kinase2 localization defects of the yeast S-acyl transferase mutant akr1Delta, and that inhibition of acylation in wild-type Arabidopsis roots reproduces the Tip1- mutant phenotype. Our results demonstrate that S-acylation is essential for normal plant cell growth and identify a plant S-acyl transferase, an essential research tool if we are to understand how this important, reversible lipid modification operates in plant cells.
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