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Plant Cell. 2005 Jun;17(6):1737-48. Epub 2005 May 6.

Localization of the microtubule end binding protein EB1 reveals alternative pathways of spindle development in Arabidopsis suspension cells.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Ines Centre, Norwich NR 4 7UH, United Kingdom.


In a previous study on Arabidopsis thaliana suspension cells transiently infected with the microtubule end binding protein AtEB1a-green fluorescent protein (GFP), we reported that interphase microtubules grow from multiple sites dispersed over the cortex, with plus ends forming the characteristic comet-like pattern. In this study, AtEB1a-GFP was used to study the transitions of microtubule arrays throughout the division cycle of cells lacking a defined centrosome. During division, the dispersed origin of microtubules was replaced by a more focused pattern with the plus end comets growing away from sites associated with the nuclear periphery. The mitotic spindle then evolved in two quite distinct ways depending on the presence or absence of the preprophase band (PPB): the cells displaying outside-in as well as inside-out mitotic pathways. In those cells possessing a PPB, the fusion protein labeled material at the nuclear periphery that segregated into two polar caps, perpendicular to the PPB, before nuclear envelope breakdown (NEBD). These polar caps then marked the spindle poles upon NEBD. However, in the population of cells without PPBs, there was no prepolarization of material at the nuclear envelope before NEBD, and the bipolar spindle only emerged clearly after NEBD. Such cells had variable spindle orientations and enhanced phragmoplast mobility, suggesting that the PPB is involved in a polarization event that promotes early spindle pole morphogenesis and subsequent positional stability during division. Astral-like microtubules are not usually prominent in plant cells, but they are clearly seen in these Arabidopsis cells, and we hypothesize that they may be involved in orienting the division plane, particularly where the plane is not determined before division.

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