Journal Article

Microtubules Regulate Dynamic Organization of Vacuoles in <i>Physcomitrella patens</i>

Yoshihisa Oda, Aiko Hirata, Toshio Sano, Tomomichi Fujita, Yuji Hiwatashi, Yoshikatsu Sato, Akeo Kadota, Mitsuyasu Hasebe and Seiichiro Hasezawa

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 50, issue 4, pages 855-868
Published in print April 2009 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Microtubules Regulate Dynamic Organization of Vacuoles in Physcomitrella patens

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Eukaryotic cells have developed several essential membrane components. In flowering plants, appropriate structures and distributions of the major membrane components are predominantly regulated by actin microfilaments. In this study, we have focused on the regulatory mechanism of vacuolar structures in the moss, Physcomitrella patens. The high ability of P. patens to undergo homologous recombination enabled us stably to express green fluorescent protein (GFP) or red fluorescent protein (RFP) fusion proteins, and the simple body structure of P. patens enabled us to perform detailed visualization of the intracellular vacuolar and cytoskeletal structures. Three-dimensional analysis and high-speed time-lapse observations revealed surprisingly complex structures and dynamics of the vacuole, with inner sheets and tubular protrusions, and frequent rearrangements by separation and fusion of the membranes. Depolymerization of microtubules dramatically affected these structures and movements. Dual observation of microtubules and vacuolar membranes revealed that microtubules induced tubular protrusions and cytoplasmic strands of the vacuoles, indicative of interactions between microtubules and vacuolar membranes. These results demonstrate a novel function of microtubules in maintaining the distribution of the vacuole and suggest a functional divergence of cytoskeletal functions in land plant evolution.

Keywords: Actin microfilament; Cytoskeleton; Microtubule; Physcomitrella patens; Vacuolar membrane; Vacuole

Journal Article.  7390 words.  Illustrated.

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

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