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Arabidopsis Book. 2015 Apr 27;13:e0179. doi: 10.1199/tab.0179. eCollection 2015.

Microtubules in plants.

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Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Takayama 8916-5, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan.


Microtubules (MTs) are highly conserved polar polymers that are key elements of the eukaryotic cytoskeleton and are essential for various cell functions. αβ-tubulin, a heterodimer containing one structural GTP and one hydrolysable and exchangeable GTP, is the building block of MTs and is formed by the sequential action of several molecular chaperones. GTP hydrolysis in the MT lattice is mechanistically coupled with MT growth, thus giving MTs a metastable and dynamic nature. MTs adopt several distinct higher-order organizations that function in cell division and cell morphogenesis. Small molecular weight compounds that bind tubulin are used as herbicides and as research tools to investigate MT functions in plant cells. The de novo formation of MTs in cells requires conserved γ-tubulin-containing complexes and targeting/activating regulatory proteins that contribute to the geometry of MT arrays. Various MT regulators and tubulin modifications control the dynamics and organization of MTs throughout the cell cycle and in response to developmental and environmental cues. Signaling pathways that converge on the regulation of versatile MT functions are being characterized.

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