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The plant cortical microtubule array is a unique acentrosomal array that is essential for plant morphogenesis. To understand how this array is organized, we exploited the microtubule (+)-end tracking activity of two Arabidopsis EB1 proteins in combination with FRAP (fluorescence recovery after photobleaching) experiments of GFP-tubulin to examine the relationship between cortical microtubule array organization and polarity. Significantly, our observations show that the majority of cortical microtubules in ordered arrays, within a particular cell, face the same direction in both Arabidopsis plants and cultured tobacco cells. We determined that this polar microtubule coalignment is at least partially due to a selective stabilization of microtubules, and not due to a change in microtubule polymerization rates. Finally, we show that polar microtubule coalignment occurs in conjunction with parallel grouping of cortical microtubules and that cortical array polarity is progressively enhanced during array organization. These observations reveal a novel aspect of plant cortical microtubule array organization and suggest that selective stabilization of dynamic cortical microtubules plays a predominant role in the self-organization of cortical arrays.


Copyright © 2010 by the American Society for Cell Biology. Published in Molecular Biology of the Cell 2006 Mar;17(3):1298-305. DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E05-09-0864

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