Molecular aspects of microtubule dynamics in plants Juliette Azimzadeh*, Jan Traas† and Martine Pastuglia*‡ Microtubules are highly dynamic structures that play a major role in a wide range of processes, including cell morphogenesis, cell division, intracellular transport and signaling. The recent identification in plants of proteins involved in microtubule organization has begun to reveal how cytoskeleton dynamics are controlled. Addresses *Station de Génétique et Amélioration des Plantes, INRA, Route de Saint Cyr, 78026 Versailles Cedex, France † Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire, INRA, Route de Saint Cyr, 78026 Versailles Cedex, France ‡ e-mail: [email protected]
Current Opinion in Plant Biology 2001, 4:513–519 1369-5266/01/$ — see front matter © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. Abbreviations AtKSS1 Arabidopsis thaliana KATANIN-LIKE PROTEIN SMALL SUBUNIT1 CaM calmodulin fra2 fragile fiber 2 gem1 gemini pollen 1 GFP green fluorescent protein KCBP kinesin-like calmodulin-binding protein KIPK KCBP-interacting protein kinase KRP kinesin-related protein MAP MT-associated protein mor1 microtubule organization 1 MT microtubule MTOC MT organizing center NPK1 Nicotiana Protein Kinase 1 PP1 Type 1 protein phosphatase PPB preprophase band spr spiral TAN1 TANGLED1 TON2 TONNEAU2
critical concentration, MTs alternate between phases of growth and rapid shortening, a phenomenon termed dynamic instability. Although these properties are the basis of MT dynamics, in vivo, interacting proteins are required for the nucleation, stabilization and (re)arrangement of MTs. Thus, in animals and fungi, MT organizing centers (MTOCs) are known to be required for the promotion of MT assembly in vivo. Moreover, many MT-associated proteins (MAPs) interact with the enormous MT protein surface to regulate tubulin assembly, as well as MT spatial distribution and stability [5,6]. In plants, MAPs and potential elements of MTOCs have now been identified. As expected, some of these are homologs of proteins identified in animals and fungi [7••,8••]. However, plants have specific cytoskeletal structures such as the preprophase band (PPB) and the phragmoplast. Reflecting these unique features, plant MAPs with no counterpart in other eukaryotes have also been found [9••,10••]. Here we discuss the role of these newly identified proteins in the molecular control of MT dynamics.
Studies using immunofluorescence, microinjection and, more recently, green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions have been used to show that, in plants, microtubules (MTs) are highly dynamic structures, which constantly assemble, disassemble and rearrange in response to internal and external stimuli [1–4]. Perhaps the most striking example of MT dynamics in plants is seen during cell cycle progression, during which four different MT arrays succeed one another in a very short time frame (Figure 1). How are these MT rearrangements achieved?
Plant cells lack a well-defined MTOC, and bona fide plant MT nucleators remain to be identified. Nevertheless, several candidate MT nucleators have been isolated. These include homologs of γ-tubulin, which is involved in MT nucleation  and dynamics  in other eukaryotes. In addition, homologs of Spc97p and Spc98p, two γ-tubulininteracting proteins, are encoded in the Arabidopsis genome . The first evidence for the existence in plants of complexes related to the animal γ-tubulin ring complex that is involved in the nucleation and anchorage of MT minus ends to the MTOC comes from work on maize. A soluble 1500-kDa γ-tubulin-containing protein complex has been purified from interphase maize cells . This complex has a protein profile comparable to the composition of the animal γ-tubulin ring complex and could be its structural equivalent. Immunofluorescence studies have localized plant γ-tubulin in all arrays, in particular in sites that are supposedly involved in MT nucleation, such as the nuclear surface or the poles of the spindle . However, localization of γ-tubulin along entire MTs, and as spots in G2-phase nuclei or at kinetochores, could suggest other roles for γ-tubulin, for instance in MT stabilization [16•,17•,18].
Part of the answer can be found in the intrinsic properties of MTs that can be visualized in vitro. At a critical concentration, α- and β-tubulin heterodimers spontaneously self-assemble to form hollow cylinders. Reflecting the orientation of αβ-heterodimers, MTs have a polar structure with a fast-growing end, the plus end, and a slow-growing end, the minus end. As such, MTs are labile structures: when polymerizing tubulin solutions are diluted below the
Although biochemical and molecular work has revealed some potential components involved in MT nucleation, the actual site of MT formation in plants is still under debate. There is a general consensus that the nuclear surface is a major MT initiator , but the existence of other nucleation sites is still an open question. In particular, the site of reassembly of cortical interphase MTs after mitosis has received considerable attention. After cytokinesis,
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Confocal imaging of GFP::MBD (i.e. GFP fused to the microtubule-binding domain of MAP4 ) expression revealing dynamic changes in MT organization during the cell cycle in Arabidopsis root cells. The two central cells in each frame are in mitosis. The dynamics of MT arrays during mitosis are visible in the right-hand cell from preprophase to the end of cytokinesis. (a–c) At preprophase, a transient cortical band of MTs, the preprophase band (PPB), encircles the cell and precisely marks the future site of division (asterisk). (c,d) As the cell enters mitosis, MTs assemble at the nuclear surface (indicated by an arrow), contributing to (e) the formation of the mitotic spindle after nuclear envelope breakdown ([f] shows the metaphase spindle and [g] the anaphase spindle). (h) At late anaphase, the phragmoplast (constituted by two sets of opposing MTs) appears between the spindle poles and (i,j) expands as a ring growing centrifugally toward the edges of the cell. (k) After cytokinesis, perinuclear MTs are assembled at the new nuclear envelope. (l) The new cell membrane is indicated with an arrowhead. Time points at which the scans were performed are indicated in minutes. Each image is a single optical section. Scale bar = 10 µM.
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MTs appear first in the perinuclear region, then radiate from the nucleus to the cortex, and are subsequently visualized in the cortex (e.g. [20,21]). This could imply that MTs are translocated from the nucleus to the cortex, but a scenario in which a new cortical interphase array is reassembled at the cortex cannot be discarded. The recent characterization of AtKSS1 (Arabidopsis thaliana KATANIN-LIKE PROTEIN SMALL SUBUNIT1) could shed new light on the establishment of cortical MT arrays during interphase. AtKSS1 is an Arabidopsis homolog of the 60-kDa subunit of the MT-severing katanin complex and localizes after cytokinesis at the perinuclear region [22•]. Burk et al. [8••] isolated a mutant allele of AtKSS1 called fragile fiber 2 (fra2) (which is allelic to botero1 [23•,24]). Interestingly, fra2 cells that are recently exited from cell division exhibit a delay in the disappearance of
perinuclear MTs, which form aster-like arrays running toward the cell cortex, concomitantly with a delay in the organization of transverse cortical MTs [8••]. This phenotype could be due to the retarded release of perinuclear MTs, leading to a delayed translocation to the cortex. In this scenario, FRA2/AtKSS1 would help to release the MTs from the nuclear surface. Such an activity has been shown in animals in which a heterodimeric katanin releases MTs from the centrosome . However, other scenarios are also possible. The persistence of perinuclear MTs in the mutant could also be interpreted as a delay in their depolymerization. In that case, FRA2/AtKSS1 would induce depolymerization of perinuclear MTs by releasing their unstable minus ends. The tubulin dimers released by this process could then be reutilized by as yet unidentified nucleation sites at the cortex. Further studies
Molecular aspects of microtubule dynamics in plants Azimzadeh, Traas and Pastuglia
Table 1 Plant MAPs and putative regulators of known sequence. Species
A. thaliana Nicotiana tabacum Solanum tuberosum
PPB, perinuclear region in prophase, spindle, phragmoplast
PPB, spindle (concentrated near the midzone), phragmoplast
N. tabacum Daucus carota
Interphase array (S and G2 phases), PPB, spindle, phragmoplast
Interphase array and PPB (weakly), spindle, phragmoplast (concentrated near the midzone in some cells)
A. thaliana Oryza sativa
Midzone of the spindle (from anaphase), midzone of the phragmoplast
Interphase array, PPB, spindle, phragmoplast
Cytoplasm, PPB, spindle, phragmoplast
Homologous to ch-TOGp
Perinuclear region in interphase, around the spindle poles
PP2A regulatory subunit?
Kat A, kinesin-related A; At KTN1, A. thaliana KATANIN 1; TBK5, Tobacco BY-2 cells KINESIN-LIKE PROTEIN 5. ND, not determined. (a) C Camilleri et al., unpublished data.
of FRA2/AtKSS1 activity and fra2/bot1 mutants should distinguish between these two possibilities.
Organizing the microtubules The integration of the nucleated MTs into the different cytoskeletal arrays involves a number of MAPs. Two types are distinguished, motor and non-motor MAPs, which will be discussed separately (Table 1). Motors
Motor proteins use ATP hydrolysis to move unidirectionally along the surface of MTs (either to the plus or the minus end). They can function in the transport of ‘cargo’ along MTs, as well as in MT organization. Two classes of MT motor proteins exist in animal systems: a class including the kinesins and kinesin-related proteins (KRPs), and the dyneins. Of all the proteins present in dynein complexes, only one dynein light chain is found in angiosperm genomes. This evidence could indicate that higher plants have lost these protein complexes during evolution . Conversely, plant KRPs have been identified, and some of their characteristics will be discussed here (for reviews, see [27,28]). Plant KRPs have been implicated in spindle and/or phragmoplast organization. Their roles often remain
unclear, and we will concentrate on two well-characterized examples, kinesin-like calmodulin-binding protein (KCBP) and TKRP125. In plants, the spindle forms through the rearrangement of existing MTs assembled at the premitotic nuclear envelope , a process that resembles spindle formation in meiotic acentriolar Drosophila cells. In these cells, the coordinated activities of plus- and minus-enddirected motors allows the grouping of MT minus ends at the poles by sliding apart two half-sets of antiparallel MTs . Several plant KRPs could ensure the same function. KCBP is a plant-specific minus-end-directed KRP  that is able to bundle MTs in vitro [32•]. Constitutive activation of KCBP by microinjection of antibodies (see below) prematurely induces spindle formation, suggesting a role for KCBP in the rearrangement of MTs at the prometaphase transition [33••]. KCBP activity might also be involved in focusing the acentriolar poles, where it accumulates during anaphase [33••]. Another motor associated with spindle formation is TKRP125, a plus-end-directed motor that is present in all MT arrays from S-phase to the end of M-phase . Because TKRP125 preferentially accumulates at the equatorial plane of the anaphase spindle, it is proposed to participate in spindle elongation. In addition, injection of TKRP125 antibodies inhibits phragmoplast MT translocation, and leads to the enlargement of the phragmoplast midzone where plus-end-growing
MTs overlap . Thus, TKRP125 is likely involved in maintenance of phragmoplast organization by sliding antiparallel MTs. On the basis of their localization, two other KRPs, DcKRP120-2 and AtPAKRP1, could also participate in phragmoplast organization [35•,36]. In other eukaryotes, some motors with gliding activity can also influence MT stability, depending on their spatial and temporal placement . This could be the case for the KCBP motor, mentioned above, which might affect MT dynamics in the trichomes of Arabidopsis. This motor is impaired in zwichel (zwi) mutants, which exhibit decreased trichome branching , a defect that can be corrected by a short treatment with the MT-stabilizing drug taxol [39••]. It has been proposed that KCBP/ZWI could induce the transient and local stabilization of MTs, thus allowing the reorientation of MTs before trichome branch initiation. Interestingly, KCBP/ZWI, which also participates in spindle organization as indicated earlier, is a unique protein in Arabidopsis. Nevertheless, the zwi mutation does not affect mitosis, showing that other motors can compensate for the absence of the calcium-binding protein.
of the activity of Xenopus XMAP215 and human ch-TOGp, two members of this family, it appears that MOR1 could be involved in the promotion of tubulin assembly at MT plus ends [45,46]. It has been proposed that the mor1 mutation causes a conformational change in the MOR1 protein that specifically affects interphase MTs, as mitotic arrays appear normal [7••]. Recently, however, Twell and colleagues identified an allele of MOR1 that has an effect on gametophytic development (D Twell, personal communication; SK Park, D Twell, Abstract 49, 12th International Arabidopsis Meeting, 23–27 June 2001, Madison, WI). In plants that have this allele, called gemini pollen 1 (gem1), the cell plate forms ectopically at the end of the first division of the microspore. Cytokinesis appears to be spatially uncoupled from nuclear division as a result of mispositioning of the spindle or perturbation of phragmoplast guidance [47,48]. GEM1/MOR1 thus appears to be required for the proper functioning of the mitotic arrays in pollen. Although the gem1 mutation can be transmitted via the gametes, no plants that were homozygous for the mutation were found (D Twell, personal communication), indicating that GEM1/MOR1 is essential for embryo formation and that gem1 could also affect somatic cell division.
The control of MT dynamics and organization also depends on the stabilizing and/or bundling activities of non-motor MAPs. Several non-motor MAPs have been identified in plants on the basis of their homology to known animal proteins or of their ability to bind MTs [28,40•,41,42]. The most-studied MAPs are the MAP65 family of proteins, originally isolated from purified tobacco phragmoplasts . Recently three tobacco genes encoding members of this family were cloned. These genes, named NtMAP65-1a–c, define a plant-specific gene family with no animal counterpart [10••]. Bacterially expressed NtMAP65-1a promotes polymerization of brain tubulin in vitro [10••] and bundles MTs at higher concentrations . NtMAP65-1 proteins associate with a subset of interphase MTs and with the preprophase band, and accumulate at overlapping regions of antiparallel MT arrays (i.e. the midzone of the spindle and the phragmoplast), where they could be involved in stabilization of MTs and maintenance of antiparallel organization [10••]. The MAP65 protein family isolated from carrot interphase cells form 25–30 nm crossbridges between adjacent brain MTs, consistent with a role as MT spacers in the parallel arrays of cortical MTs . Important new insights into the role of MAPs in the organization of plant MTs have started to arise from genetic approaches. The temperature-sensitive mutation microtubule organization 1 (mor1) in Arabidopsis leads to isotropic cell expansion and left-handed organ twisting. Altered cell elongation in mor1 mutants correlates with a disorganization of cortical interphase MTs, which shorten and lose their parallel alignment at the restrictive temperature. The MOR1 gene encodes a 217-kDa protein homologous to a family of MAPs from animals and fungi [7••]. On the basis
Another MAP that is required for MT organization is TANGLED1 (TAN1) in maize. The leaf cells of tan1 mutants form PPBs and phragmoplasts that are structurally normal but frequently misoriented . TAN1s encodes a highly basic 43-kDa polypeptide that directly binds MTs in vitro [9••]. At least one other TAN1-related protein exists in maize. Immunolocalization showed that TAN1 and TAN1-related protein associate with the misoriented MT arrays (i.e. PPB, spindle and phragmoplast) in the mutant but do not localize to interphase MTs [9••]. The exact role of these proteins in the positioning of the division site is still a mystery, but they could mediate interactions between mitotic arrays and the cell cortex via interactions with other cytoskeletal elements, in particular the actin system [9••,49]. Calcium, phosphorylation and MT organization
In animals, reorganization of the cytoskeleton during the cell cycle or in response to environmental stimuli requires important changes in MAP activity. Two levels of regulation have been identified that include control by calcium and changes in the phosphorylation state. During mitosis in plants, cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are supposedly involved in coordinated rearrangements of MTs. In particular, CDKs could be involved in the formation and degradation of the PPB and in the formation of a bipolar spindle (reviewed in ; see also Update). It is not known whether plant MAPs are substrates for CDKs, but phosphorylation sites for CDKs are found in the sequences of the motor proteins TKRP125 and DcKRP120-2 [34,35•]. Other non-mitotic kinases possibly control MAP activities. For example, the KCBP tail region interacts with a kinase in the two-hybrid system. KCBP-interacting protein kinase
Molecular aspects of microtubule dynamics in plants Azimzadeh, Traas and Pastuglia
(KIPK) could regulate KCBP or KCBP-associated proteins. Alternatively, KCBP could target KIPK to its proper cellular location [51•]. Another example is the NPK1 (Nicotiana Protein Kinase 1) mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase that appears to control cell-plate expansion. NPK1 accumulates in the midline of the phragmoplast, and the expression of a kinase-negative mutant of NPK1 leads to the inhibition of lateral growth of the phragmoplast [52•]. Moreover, NPK1 is activated by its interaction with a newly identified KRP that could ensure the proper localization of the kinase to the phragmoplast [52•]. Type1 and type2A protein phosphatases (PP1 and PP2A) are also involved in regulating the dynamics and organization of interphase and mitotic MT arrays, as revealed by inhibitor studies [53,54,55•]. For example, inhibition of PP2A activities in alfalfa cells leads to the formation of abnormal PPBs and phragmoplasts, and to the precocious accumulation of MTs around the prophase nucleus [55•]. The first molecular evidence that PP2A complexes acting on the MT cytoskeleton might exist in plants arises from the cloning of the Arabidopsis TONNEAU2 (TON2) FASS gene, which encodes a putative B regulatory subunit of PP2A (C Camilleri, personal communication). TON2/FASS gene function is essential for the organization of cortical arrays, as mutants in which this gene is disrupted display disorganized interphase MT arrays in mitotic cells and lack PPBs . Another mutant, ton1, is likely to be impaired in the same pathway as its phenotype is identical to a strong ton2 allele. Characterization of the TON1 gene product should permit further dissection of the molecular control of cortical MT organization. Ca2+
Other regulators involved in MT organization are and calmodulin (CaM), which directly control the activity of the motor KCBP. KCBP has a CaM-binding domain adjacent to its motor domain, and KCBP association with MTs is inhibited by Ca2+/CaM (, reviewed in ). Variations in Ca2+ concentration are proposed to regulate KCBP during mitosis. Activation of KCBP by blocking the CaM-binding site with a specific antibody (see also above) induces early nuclear envelope breakdown, metaphase arrest and abnormal phragmoplast formation, depending on the time of injection. In dividing cells, the increase in Ca2+ concentration could cause transient inactivation of KCBP at certain stages, allowing the completion of mitosis [33••].
Conclusions The integrated use of biochemical, cellular, molecular and genetic approaches has greatly improved our understanding of MT dynamics. Nevertheless, many questions remain, and more work is needed to analyze the function of known proteins and newly identified ones. In this context, the exploitation of genomic data will be of importance. Whereas work based on homologies with animal and yeast proteins concentrates on conserved aspects, the genetic approach might also lead to the identification of
plant-specific mechanisms, possibly involving novel components. Typical examples of the genetic approach include work on the ton1 and spiral (spr) mutants [57••] in Arabidopsis. The SPR1 and SPR2 genes define two novel plant-specific gene families that are involved in the cortical organization of MTs and in cell expansion (I Furatani et al., Abstract 180, 12th International Arabidopsis Meeting, 23–27 June 2001, Madison, WI). Moreover, the identification of two suppressors of the spr1 phenotype, lefty1 and lefty2, will be of great interest (S Thitamadee et al., Abstract 296, 11th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research, 24–28 June 2000, Madison, WI). In this article, we leave aside functional aspects. The cytoskeleton has been associated with a wide range of processes, but often its precise role is poorly characterized. The next challenge, therefore, will be to understand how the plant cytoskeleton participates in processes such as intracellular transport, cell morphogenesis, cell division or signaling.
Update Recently, a CDK-A::GFP fusion protein has been used to precisely determine the localization of this CDK . This study suggests that CDK-A is transiently recruited to the late PPB just before the disassembly of the PPB. After prometaphase, CDK-A associates physically with mitotic structures in a microtubule-dependent manner. Detailed pharmacological studies further suggest that CDK-A might regulate MT organization throughout mitosis.
Acknowledgements We wish to thank O Grandjean for his help with the confocal imaging system, G Wasteneys, T Hashimoto, H Tsukaya, D Twell and R McClinton for communicating their unpublished results, and H McKahnn for helpful comments on the manuscript. JA is recipient of a fellowship from the French Ministry for Research. MP and JT are members of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique.
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Molecular aspects of microtubule dynamics in plants Azimzadeh, Traas and Pastuglia
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