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Plant Cell. 2000 Apr;12(4):465-77.

Microtubule stabilization leads to growth reorientation in Arabidopsis trichomes.

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  • 1Laboratory of Plant Cell Biology, Institute of Molecular Agrobiology, 1 Research Link, National University of Singapore, 117 604, Singapore.


The single-cell trichomes in wild-type Arabidopsis are either unbranched or have two to five branches. Using transgenic Arabidopsis plants expressing a green fluorescent protein-microtubule-associated protein4 fusion protein, which decorates the microtubular cytoskeleton, we observed that during trichome branching, microtubules reorient with respect to the longitudinal growth axis. Considering branching to be a localized microtubule-dependent growth reorientation event, we investigated the effects of microtubule-interacting drugs on branch induction in trichomes. In unbranched trichomes of the mutant stichel, a change in growth directionality, closely simulating branch initiation, could be elicited by a short treatment with paclitaxel, a microtubule-stabilizing drug, but not with microtubule-disrupting drugs. The growth reorientation appeared to be linked to increased microtubule stabilization and to aster formation in the treated trichomes. Taxol-induced microtubule stabilization also led to the initiation of new branch points in the zwichel mutant of Arabidopsis, which is defective in a kinesin-like microtubule motor protein and possesses trichomes that are less branched. Our observations suggest that trichome cell branching in Arabidopsis might be mediated by transiently stabilized microtubular structures, which may form a component of a multiprotein complex required to reorient freshly polymerizing microtubules into new growth directions.

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