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Keywords:

  • Microtubules;
  • plant cell;
  • post-translational modifications;
  • tubulin

Abstract

The microtubular cytoskeleton of plant cells provides support for several functions (including the anchoring of proteins, assembly of the mitotic spindle, cytoplasmic streaming and construction of cell walls). Both α- and β-tubulins are encoded through multigene families that are differentially expressed in different organs and tissues. To increase the variability of expression, both protein subunits are subjected to post-translational modifications, which could contribute to the assembly of specific microtubule structures. This review aims to highlight the role of specific post-translational modifications of tubulin in plant cells. We initially describe the expression and accumulation of α- and β-tubulin isoforms in different plants and at different stages of plant development. Second, we discuss the different types of post-translational modifications that, by adding or removing specific functional groups, increase the isoform heterogeneity and functional variability of tubulin. Modifications are proposed to form a ‘code’ that can be read by proteins interacting with microtubules. Therefore, the subpopulations of microtubules may bind to different associated proteins (motor and non-motor), thus creating the physical support for various microtubule functions.