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Curr Biol. 2010 Jul 13;20(13):1197-202. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.05.038. Epub 2010 Jun 17.

Wood cell-wall structure requires local 2D-microtubule disassembly by a novel plasma membrane-anchored protein.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Plant cells have evolved cortical microtubules, in a two-dimensional space beneath the plasma membrane, that regulate patterning of cellulose deposition. Although recent studies have revealed that several microtubule-associated proteins facilitate self-organization of transverse cortical microtubules, it is still unknown how diverse patterns of cortical microtubules are organized in different xylem cells, which are the major components of wood. Using our newly established in vitro xylem cell differentiation system, we found that a novel microtubule end-tracking protein, microtubule depletion domain 1 (MIDD1), was anchored to distinct plasma membrane domains and promoted local microtubule disassembly, resulting in pits on xylem cell walls. The introduction of RNA interference for MIDD1 resulted in the failure of local microtubule depletion and the formation of secondary walls without pits. Conversely, the overexpression of MIDD1 reduced microtubule density. MIDD1 has two coiled-coil domains for the binding to microtubules and for the anchorage to plasma membrane domains, respectively. Combination of the two coils caused end tracking of microtubules during shrinkage and suppressed their rescue events. Our results indicate that MIDD1 integrates spatial information in the plasma membrane with cortical microtubule dynamics for determining xylem cell wall pattern.

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