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Plant J. 2007 Oct;52(2):322-31. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

Arabidopsis GCP2 and GCP3 are part of a soluble gamma-tubulin complex and have nuclear envelope targeting domains.

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Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes, UPR2357-CNRS, Université Louis Pasteur, 12 rue du Général Zimmer, 67084 Strasbourg cedex, France.


In higher plants, microtubules (MTs) are assembled in distinctive arrays in the absence of a defined organizing center. Three MT nucleation sites have been described: the nuclear surface, the cell cortex and cortical MT branch points. The Arabidopsis thaliana (At) genome contains putative orthologues encoding all the components of characterized mammalian nucleation complexes: gamma-tubulin and gamma-tubulin complex proteins GCP2 to GCP6. We have cloned the cDNA encoding AtGCP2, and show that gamma-tubulin, AtGCP2 and AtGCP3 are part of the same tandem affinity-purified complex and are present in a large membrane-associated complex. In addition, small soluble gamma-tubulin complexes of the size expected for a gamma-tubulin core complex are recruited to isolated nuclei. Using immunogold labelling, AtGCP3 is localized to both the nuclear envelope (NE) and the plasma membrane. To identify domains that could play a role in targeting complexes to these nucleation sites, truncated AtGCP2- and AtGCP3-green fluorescent protein fusion proteins were expressed in BY-2 cells. Several domains from AtGCP2 and AtGCP3 are capable of targeting fusions to the NE. We propose that regulated recruitment of soluble gamma-tubulin-containing complexes is responsible for nucleation at dispersed sites in plant cells and contributes to the formation and organization of the various MT arrays.

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