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Genes Dev. 2006 Apr 15;20(8):1004-14. Epub 2006 Apr 5.

Phosphorylation of NtMAP65-1 by a MAP kinase down-regulates its activity of microtubule bundling and stimulates progression of cytokinesis of tobacco cells.

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Division of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8602, Japan.


The tobacco mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade, which includes MAPK NRK1/NTF6, positively regulates expansion of the cytokinetic machinery known as the phragmoplast, which is followed by the synthesis of cell plates for completion of cell division. However, molecular events lying between the MAPK and phragmoplast expansion were not known. Here, we show that NRK1/NTF6 phosphorylates the threonine residue at position 579 in NtMAP65-1a, a microtubule-associated (MT-associated) protein. Levels of phosphorylated NtMAP65-1 increase during late M phase of the cell cycle, when NRK1/NTF6 is activated. Phosphorylated NtMAP65-1 is concentrated at the equator of phragmoplast, as is NRK1/NTF6. Overexpression of mutant forms of NtMAP65-1a that cannot be phosphorylated by NRK1 delays progression of the M phase and phragmoplast expansion, also rendering phragmoplast structures resistant to an MT-depolymerizing drug. Phosphorylation of NtMAP65-1 by NRK1/NTF6 down-regulates its MT-bundling activity in vitro. These results suggest that phosphorylation of NtMAP65-1 by NRK1/NTF6 also reduces its MT-bundling activity in vivo, which enhances destabilization and turnover of MTs at the phragmoplast equator, perhaps facilitating phragmoplast expansion.

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