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Mol Plant. 2012 May;5(3):716-25. doi: 10.1093/mp/sss033. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Quantitative changes in microtubule distribution correlate with guard cell function in Arabidopsis.

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Department of Biology, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053, USA.


Radially arranged cortical microtubules are a prominent feature of guard cells. We observed guard cells expressing GFP-tubulin (GFP-TUA6) with confocal microscopy and found recognizable changes in the appearance of microtubules when stomata open or close (Eisinger et al., 2012). In the present study, analysis of fluorescence distribution showed a dramatic increase in peak intensities of microtubule bundles within guard cells as stomata open. This increase was correlated with an increase in the total fluorescence that could be attributed to polymerized tubulin. Adjacent pavement cells did not show similar changes in peak intensities or integrated fluorescence when stomatal apertures changed. Imaging of RFP-tagged end binding protein 1 (EB1) and YFP-tagged α-tubulin expressed in the same cell revealed that the number of microtubules with growing ends remained constant, although the total amount of polymerized tubulin was higher in open than in closed guard cells. Taken together, these results indicate that the changes in microtubule array organization that are correlated with and required for normal guard cell function are characterized by changes in microtubule clustering or bundling.

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