Actin patches are core components of the yeast actin cytoskeleton that undergo redistribution during establishment of cell polarity. Using 4D imaging, we observe the life cycle of actin patches in living yeast for the first time. We observe assembly of actin patches at sites of polarized growth, and disassembly of actin patches concomitant with movement away from those sites. The total lifetime of an actin patch is 10.9+/-4.2 seconds. These findings indicate that actin patches are labile structures, and that the localization of actin patches during establishment of cell polarity occurs by assembly of these structures at sites of polarized cell surface growth. These findings were confirmed and extended by analysis of myosin I proteins and their receptor, verprolin, proteins implicated in actin assembly in yeast. Deletion of type I myosins or their receptor has no effect on the velocity of actin patch movement. However, these mutants show a 65% reduction in number of patch movements and a three-fold increase in patch lifetime. Finally, the actin patch resident proteins Abp1p, fimbrin, and Arp2p show normal association with actin patches in myosin I and verprolin mutants. However, cofilin accumulates in abnormal ‘bars’ of G-actin in myo3(Δ),myo5(Δ) and vrp1(Δ) strains, and Las17p/Bee1p is not associated with actin patches in vrp1(Δ) strains. These findings imply a multi-step process for actin patch assembly. Early events in this process, including assembly of Abp1p, fimbrin and Arp2p with F-actin, can occur throughout the cell and do not require myosin I proteins or their receptor. Later events in this process are myosin I-dependent, and are required for assembly of actin patches at sites of polarized cell surface growth. http://www.biologists.com/JCS/movies/jcs1990.html

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