J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2007, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (8): 1154-1163.DOI: 10.1111/j.1672-9072.2007.00545.x

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How do Plants Organize Microtubules Without a Centrosome?

Takashi Murata, Takako Tanahashi, Tomoaki Nishiyama, Kazuo Yamaguchi and Mitsuyasu Hasebe   

  • Published:2007-08-04

Abstract: A microtubule nucleates from a γ-tubulin complex, which consists of γ-tubulin, proteins from the SPC97/SPC98 family, and the WD40 motif protein GCP-WD. We analyzed the phylogenetic relationships of the genes encoding these proteins and found that the components of this complex are widely conserved among land plants and other eukaryotes. By contrast, the interphase and mitotic arrays of microtubules in land plants differ from those in other eukaryotes. In the interphase cortical array, the majority of microtubules nucleate on existing microtubules in the absence of conspicuous microtubule organizing centers (MTOCs), such as a centrosome. During mitosis, the spindle also forms in the absence of conspicuous MTOCs. Both poles of the spindle are broad, and branched structures of microtubules called microtubule converging centers form at the poles. In this review, we hypothesize that the microtubule converging centers form via microtubuledependent microtubule nucleation, as in the case of the interphase arrays. The evolutionary insights arising from the molecular basis of the diversity in microtubule organization are discussed.

Key words: cortical microtubules, evolution, γ-tubulin, microtubule nucleation, mitotic spindle.

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