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Free Content Arabidopsis GCP2 and GCP3 are part of a soluble γ-tubulin complex and have nuclear envelope targeting domains

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In higher plants, microtubules (MTs) are assembled in distinctive arrays in the absence of a defined organizing center. Three MT nucleation sites have been described: the nuclear surface, the cell cortex and cortical MT branch points. The Arabidopsis thaliana (At) genome contains putative orthologues encoding all the components of characterized mammalian nucleation complexes: γ-tubulin and γ-tubulin complex proteins GCP2 to GCP6. We have cloned the cDNA encoding AtGCP2, and show that γ-tubulin, AtGCP2 and AtGCP3 are part of the same tandem affinity-purified complex and are present in a large membrane-associated complex. In addition, small soluble γ-tubulin complexes of the size expected for a γ-tubulin core complex are recruited to isolated nuclei. Using immunogold labelling, AtGCP3 is localized to both the nuclear envelope (NE) and the plasma membrane. To identify domains that could play a role in targeting complexes to these nucleation sites, truncated AtGCP2- and AtGCP3-green fluorescent protein fusion proteins were expressed in BY-2 cells. Several domains from AtGCP2 and AtGCP3 are capable of targeting fusions to the NE. We propose that regulated recruitment of soluble γ-tubulin-containing complexes is responsible for nucleation at dispersed sites in plant cells and contributes to the formation and organization of the various MT arrays.
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Keywords: microtubules; nuclear envelope; nucleation; γ-tubulin complex protein; γ-tubulin complex protein 1

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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