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Curr Biol. 2003 Nov 11;13(22):1991-7.

A novel localization pattern for an EB1-like protein links microtubule dynamics to endomembrane organization.

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Botanical Institute III, University of Köln, Gyrhofstrasse 15, D-50931 Köln, Germany.


A group of microtubule-associated proteins called +TIPs (plus end tracking proteins), including EB1 family proteins, label growing microtubule ends specifically in diverse organisms and are implicated in spindle dynamics, chromosome segregation, and directing microtubules toward cortical sites. Here, we report three new EB1-like proteins from Arabidopsis and provide the intracellular localization for AtEB1, which differs from all known EB1 proteins in having a very long acidic C-terminal tail. In marked contrast to other EB1 proteins, the GFP-AtEB1 fusion protein localizes not only to microtubule plus ends but also to motile, pleiomorphic tubulovesicular membrane networks that surround other organelles and frequently merge with the endoplasmic reticulum. AtEB1 behavior thus resembles that of +TIPs, such as the cytoplasmic linker protein CLIP-170, that are known to associate with and pull along membrane tubules in animal systems but for which homologs have not been identified in plants. In addition, though EB1 proteins are believed to stabilize microtubules, a different behavior is observed for AtEB1 where instead of stabilizing a microtubule it localizes to already stabilized regions on a microtubule. The dual localization pattern of AtEB1 suggests links between microtubule plus end dynamics and endomembrane organization during polarized growth of plant cells.

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