Emerging molecular mechanisms that power and regulate the anastral mitotic spindle of flowering plants.


Bannigan A, Lizotte-Waniewski M, MA Riley, Baskin TI.


Flowering plants, lacking centrosomes as well as dynein, assemble their mitotic spindle via a pathway that is distinct visually and molecularly from that of animals and yeast. The molecular components underlying mitotic spindle assembly and function in plants are beginning to be discovered. Here, we review recent evidence suggesting the preprophase band in plants functions analogously to the centrosome in animals in establishing spindle bipolarity, and we review recent progress characterizing the roles of specific motor proteins in plant mitosis. Loss of function of certain minus-end-directed KIN-14 motor proteins causes a broadening of the spindle pole; whereas, loss of function of a KIN-5 causes the formation of monopolar spindles, resembling those formed when the homologous motor protein (e.g., Eg5) is knocked out in animal cells. We present a phylogeny of the kinesin-5 motor domain, which shows deep divergence among plant sequences, highlighting possibilities for specialization. Finally, we review information concerning the roles of selected structural proteins at mitosis as well as recent findings concerning regulation of M-phase in plants. Insight into the mitotic spindle will be obtained through continued comparison of mitotic mechanisms in a diversity of cells.

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