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Planta. 2010 Oct;232(5):1263-79. doi: 10.1007/s00425-010-1256-0. Epub 2010 Aug 29.

Inhibition of phospholipase C disrupts cytoskeletal organization and gravitropic growth in Arabidopsis roots.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


The phospholipase protein superfamily plays an important role in hormonal signalling and cellular responses to environmental stimuli. There is also growing evidence for interactions between phospholipases and the cytoskeleton. In this report we used a pharmacological approach to investigate whether inhibiting a member of the phospholipase superfamily, phospholipase C (PLC), affects microtubules and actin microfilaments as well as root growth and morphology of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. Inhibiting PLC activity using the aminosteroid U73122 significantly inhibited root elongation and disrupted root morphology in a concentration-dependent manner, with the response being saturated at 5 μM, whereas the inactive analogue U73343 was ineffective. The primary root appeared to lose growth directionality accompanied by root waving and formation of curls. Immunolabelling of roots exposed to increasingly higher U73122 concentrations revealed that the normal transverse arrays of cortical microtubules in the elongation zone became progressively more disorganized or depolymerized, with the disorganization appearing within 1 h of incubation. Likewise, actin microfilament arrays also were disrupted. Inhibiting PLC using an alternative inhibitor, neomycin, caused similar disruptions to both cytoskeletal organization and root morphology. In seedlings gravistimulated by rotating the culture plates by 90°, both U73122 and neomycin disrupted the normal gravitropic growth of roots and etiolated hypocotyls. The effects of PLC inhibitors are therefore consistent with the notion that, as with phospholipases A and D, PLC likewise interacts with the cytoskeleton, alters growth morphology, and is involved in gravitropism.

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