J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2005, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (4): 457-466.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2005.00086.x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

Dimethyl Sulfoxide Is Feasible for Plant Tubulin Assembly In vitro: A Comprehensive Analysis

Chun-Hua XU, Shan-Jin HUANG,Ming YUAN   

Abstract: It is much more difficult for tubulin from plant sources to polymerize in vitro than tubulin from animal sources. Taxol, a most widely used reagent in microtubule studies, enhances plant microtubule assembly, but hinders microtubule dynamics. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), a widely used reagent in animal microtubule studies, is a good candidate for the investigation of plant microtubule assembly in vitro. However, proper investigation is lacking about the effects of DMSO on plant microtubule assembly in vitro. In the present study, DMSO was used to establish optimal conditions for the polymerization of plant tubulin. Tubulin, purified from lily pollen, polymerizes into microtubules at a critical concentration of 1.2 mg/mL in the presence of 10% DMSO. The polymers appear to have a normal microtubule structure, as revealed by electron microscopy. In the presence of 10% DMSO, microtubule polymerization decreases when the pH of the medium is increased from 6.5 to 7.4. Both the polymerization rate and the mass of the polymers increase as temperature increases from 25 to 40 °C. Tubulin polymerizes and depolymerizes along with cycling of temperature, from 37 to 4 °C, or following the addition to or the removal of Ca2+ from the medium. When incubated with nuclei isolated from tobacco BY-2 suspension cells, tubulin assembles onto the nuclear surface in the presence of 10% DMSO. Labeling lily pollen tubulin with 5- (and 6-) carboxytetramethyl-rhodamine succinimidyl ester (NHS-rhodamine) was performed successfully in the presence of 10% DMSO. Labeled tubulin assembles into a radial structure on the surface of BY-2 nuclei. The polymerization of lily pollen tubulin is also enhanced by microtubule-associated proteins from animal sources in the presence of 10% DMSO. All the experimental results indicate that plant tubulin functions normally in the presence of DMSO. Therefore, DMSO is an appropriate reagent for plant tubulin polymerization and investigation of plant microtubules in vitro.

Key words: dimethyl sulfoxide, Lilium davidii Duch., tubulin labeling, tubulin polymerization, tubulin purification.

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