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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Nov;87(22):8825-9.

Incorporation of Paramecium axonemal tubulin into higher plant cells reveals functional sites of microtubule assembly.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire Végétale, Unité Associée 1182 du Centre de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.


Incorporation of Paramecium axonemal tubulin into lysed endosperm cells of the higher plant Haemanthus enabled us to identify sites of microtubule assembly. This exogenous Paramecium tubulin could be traced by specific antibodies that do not stain endogenous plant microtubules. Intracellular copolymerization of protozoan and higher plant tubulins gave rise to hybrid polymers that were visualized by immunofluorescence and by immunoelectron microscopy. The addition of exogenous tubulin revealed many free ends of endogenous microtubules that were competent to assemble ciliate tubulin. The functional roles of the nuclear surface and the equatorial region of the phragmoplast as plant microtubule-organizing centers, which were revealed by the intense incorporation of exogenous tubulin, are discussed. These data shed light on the present debate on higher plant microtubule organizing centers.

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