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Protoplasma. 2003 Mar;220(3-4):201-7.

Disruption of cellulose synthesis by isoxaben causes tip swelling and disorganizes cortical microtubules in elongating conifer pollen tubes.

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Department of Biology, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina 29424, USA.


In elongating pollen tubes of the conifer Picea abies (Norway spruce), microtubules form a radial array beneath the plasma membrane only at the elongating tip and an array parallel with elongation throughout the tube. Tips specifically swell following microtubule disruption. Here we test whether these radial microtubules coordinate cell wall deposition and maintain tip integrity as tubes elongate. Control pollen tubes contain cellulose throughout the walls, including the tip. Pollen tubes grown in the presence of isoxaben, which disrupts cellulose synthesis, are significantly shorter with a decrease in cellulose throughout the walls. Isoxaben also significantly increases the frequency of tip swelling, with no effect on tube width outside of the swollen tip. The decrease in cellulose is more pronounced in pollen tubes with swollen tips. The effects of isoxaben are reversible. Following isoxaben treatment, the radial array of microtubules persists beneath the plasma membrane of nonswollen tips, while this array is specifically disrupted in swollen tips. Microtubules instead form a random network throughout the tip. Growth in these pollen tubes is turgor driven, but the morphological changes due to isoxaben are not just the result of weakened cell walls since pollen tubes grown in hypoosmotic media are not significantly shorter but do have swollen tips and tubes are wider along their entire length. We conclude that the radial microtubules in the tip do maintain tip integrity and that the specific inhibition of cellulose microfibril deposition leads to the disorganization of these microtubules. This supports the emerging model that there is bidirectional communication across the plasma membrane between cortical microtubules and cellulose microfibrils.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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