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Mol Biol Cell. 2000 Aug;11(8):2733-41.

Nuclear dynamics in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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  • 1Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721, USA.


The nucleus is a definitive feature of eukaryotic cells, comprising twin bilamellar membranes, the inner and outer nuclear membranes, which separate the nucleoplasmic and cytoplasmic compartments. Nuclear pores, complex macromolecular assemblies that connect the two membranes, mediate communication between these compartments. To explore the morphology, topology, and dynamics of nuclei within living plant cells, we have developed a novel method of confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscopy under time-lapse conditions. This is used for the examination of the transgenic expression in Arabidopsis thaliana of a chimeric protein, comprising the GFP (Green-Fluorescent Protein of Aequorea victoria) translationally fused to an effective nuclear localization signal (NLS) and to beta-glucuronidase (GUS) from E. coli. This large protein is targeted to the nucleus and accumulates exclusively within the nucleoplasm. This article provides online access to movies that illustrate the remarkable and unusual properties displayed by the nuclei, including polymorphic shape changes and rapid, long-distance, intracellular movement. Movement is mediated by actin but not by tubulin; it therefore appears distinct from mechanisms of nuclear positioning and migration that have been reported for eukaryotes. The GFP-based assay is simple and of general applicability. It will be interesting to establish whether the novel type of dynamic behavior reported here, for higher plants, is observed in other eukaryotic organisms.

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