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


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.