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Plant Cell. 2012 May;24(5):2071-85. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.092569. Epub 2012 May 8.

Arabidopsis microtubule-associated protein MAP65-3 cross-links antiparallel microtubules toward their plus ends in the phragmoplast via its distinct C-terminal microtubule binding domain.

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Department of Plant Biology, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Plant cytokinesis is brought about by the phragmoplast, which contains an antiparallel microtubule (MT) array. The MT-associated protein MAP65-3 acts as an MT-bundling factor that specifically cross-links antiparallel MTs near their plus ends. MAP65 family proteins contain an N-terminal dimerization domain and C-terminal MT interaction domain. Compared with other MAP65 isoforms, MAP65-3 contains an extended C terminus. A MT binding site was discovered in the region between amino acids 496 and 588 and found to be essential for the organization of phragmoplast MTs. The frequent cytokinetic failure caused by loss of MAP65-3 was not rescued by ectopic expression of MAP65-1 under the control of the MAP65-3 promoter, indicating nonoverlapping functions between the two isoforms. In the presence of MAP65-3, however, ectopic MAP65-1 appeared in the phragmoplast midline. We show that MAP65-1 could acquire the function of MAP65-3 when the C terminus of MAP65-3, which contains the MT binding site, was grafted to it. Our results also show that MAP65-1 and MAP65-3 may share redundant functions in MT stabilization. Such a stabilization effect was likely brought about by MT binding and bundling. We conclude that MAP65-3 contains a distinct C-terminal MT binding site with a specific role in cross-linking antiparallel MTs toward their plus ends in the phragmoplast.

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