Journal Article

Chemical Genetic Screening Identifies a Novel Inhibitor of Parallel Alignment of Cortical Microtubules and Cellulose Microfibrils

Arata Yoneda, Takumi Higaki, Natsumaro Kutsuna, Yoichi Kondo, Hiroyuki Osada, Seiichiro Hasezawa and Minami Matsui

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 48, issue 10, pages 1393-1403
Published in print October 2007 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcm120
Chemical Genetic Screening Identifies a Novel Inhibitor of Parallel Alignment of Cortical Microtubules and Cellulose Microfibrils

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It is a well-known hypothesis that cortical microtubules control the direction of cellulose microfibril deposition, and that the parallel cellulose microfibrils determine anisotropic cell expansion and plant cell morphogenesis. However, the molecular mechanism by which cortical microtubules regulate the orientation of cellulose microfibrils is still unclear. To investigate this mechanism, chemical genetic screening was performed. From this screening, ‘SS compounds’ were identified that induced a spherical swelling phenotype in tobacco BY-2 cells. The SS compounds could be categorized into three classes: those that disrupted the cortical microtubules; those that reduced cellulose microfibril content; and thirdly those that had neither of these effects. In the last class, a chemical designated ‘cobtorin’ was found to induce the spherical swelling phenotype at the lowest concentration, suggesting strong binding activity to the putative target. Examining cellulose microfibril regeneration using taxol-treated protoplasts revealed that the cobtorin compound perturbed the parallel alignment of pre-existing cortical microtubules and nascent cellulose microfibrils. Thus, cobtorin could be a novel inhibitor and an attractive tool for further investigation of the mechanism that enables cortical microtubules to guide the parallel deposition of cellulose microfibrils.

Keywords: Cell swelling; Cellulose microfibril; Chemical genetics; Cortical microtubule; Inhibitor

Journal Article.  5648 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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