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Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 2010 Feb;67(2):102-11. doi: 10.1002/cm.20427.

Asymmetric microtubule arrays organize the endoplasmic reticulum during polarity establishment in the brown alga Silvetia compressa.

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Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA.


Polarity is a fundamental characteristic of most cell types, and is crucial to early development of the brown alga Silvetia compressa. In eukaryotes the cytoskeleton plays an important role in generating cellular asymmetries. While it is known that F-actin is required for polarization and growth in most tip-growing cells, the roles of microtubules are less clear. We examined the distribution and function of microtubules in S. compressa zygotes as they polarized and initiated tip growth. Microtubules formed asymmetric arrays oriented toward the rhizoid hemisphere early in the polarization process. These arrays were spatially coupled with polar adhesive deposition, a marker of the rhizoid pole. Reorientation of the light vector during polarization led to sequential redistribution of polar axis components, with the microtubules and the polar axis reorienting nearly simultaneously, followed by cell wall loosening and then deposition of new polar adhesive. These findings suggested that microtubules may organize and target endomembrane arrays. We therefore examined the distribution of the endoplasmic reticulum during polarization and found it colocalized with microtubules and became targeted toward the rhizoid pole as microtubule asymmetry was generated. Endoplasmic reticulum association with microtubules remained fully intact following pharmacological disruption of F-actin, whereas microtubule disruption led to aggregation of the endoplasmic reticulum around the nucleus. We propose that brown algae utilize microtubules for organization of the endoplasmic reticulum and migration of exocytotic components to the rhizoid cortex, and present a model for polarity establishment to account for these new findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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