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Expansion of the phragmoplast during plant cytokinesis:
a MAPK pathway may MAP it out
Ryuichi Nishihama* and Yasunori Machida†
Plant cytokinesis involves the formation of a cell plate. This is details of cell-plate maturation have been revealed through accomplished with the help of the phragmoplast, a plant- the observation of cryofixed tobacco cells by Samuels et al. specific cytokinetic apparatus that consists of microtubules [5] (Figure 1a). Vesicles fuse via long thin (i.e. 20 nm in and microfilaments. During centrifugal growth of the cell plate, diameter) curving fusion tubes to produce a fusion-tube- the phragmoplast expands to keep its microtubules at the generated membrane network (FTN). This network leading edge of the cell plate. Recent studies have revealed undergoes a series of morphological and biochemical potential regulators of phragmoplast microtubule dynamics changes, including the formation of a tubulo-vesicular and the involvement of a mitogen-activated protein kinase network (TVN), a tubular network (TN), and a fenestrated cascade in the control of phragmoplast expansion. These membrane sheet. The cell plate grows centrifugally, studies provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms through the continuous addition of vesicles to its edge, until of plant cytokinesis.
it reaches the parental cell walls. Therefore, the center ofthe growing cell plate is the most mature part.
*Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,
The apparatus responsible for localization and fusion of North Carolina 27599-3280, USA vesicles is the phragmoplast, whose formation is initiated † Developmental Biology Group, Division of Biological Science, during late anaphase [1]. A phragmoplast complex is com- Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku,Nagoya 464-8602, Japan; e-mail: posed of two bundles of anti-parallel microtubules (MTs) Correspondence: Yasunori Machida and actin filaments. MTs are, in general, orientated andconsist of a plus end and a minus end. The MTs overlap at Current Opinion in Plant Biology 2001, 4:507–512
their plus ends in the center of the phragmoplast. The 1369-5266/01/$ — see front matter initial shape of the phragmoplast is a cylinder- or barrel- 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
like structure. Golgi-derived vesicles are transported to the equator of the phragmoplast by the MTs, whose action is Anaphase spindle elongation1 probably assisted by MT motor proteins that have yet to Arabidopsis thaliana phragmoplast-associated be identified [6]. Once cell-plate formation begins in its kinesin-related protein 1 equatorial zone, the phragmoplast changes into a ring-like structure and centrifugally expands, maintaining localiza- cyclin-dependent kinase tion of the MTs at the leading edge of the cell plate. This Daucus carota kinesin-related protein of 120 kDa-2 change in phragmoplast shape is crucial for the lateral fusion-tube-generated membrane network growth of the cell plate. This review focuses on the mech- kinesin-like MT-based motor protein MT-associated protein anism of lateral expansion of the phragmoplast and mitogen-activated protein kinase encompasses recent findings that shed light on the regula- tion of this process. For aspects of cytokinesis not covered in this review, such as mechanisms of vesicle fusion, roles of actin filaments, and control of the division plane, the nucleus- and phragmoplast-localized protein kinase1 Nicotiana tabacum MAPK 6 reader is referred to other recent review articles [7–10].
Nicotiana tabacum MAP65-1 Protein Regulator of Cytokinesis1 Phragmoplast expansion driven by
tobacco kinesin-related polypeptide of 125 kDa MT turnovers
tubulo-vesicular network How do phragmoplast MTs move centrifugally toward thecortex as the cell plate grows? A clue came from an exper- iment performed by Yasuhara et al. [6] who used taxol, a Cytokinesis is a physical process that distributes genetic chemical that blocks depolymerization of MTs, to examine information and cytoplasm from a parent cell into two the mechanism of cell-plate expansion. Taxol treatment of daughter cells. In higher plants, cytokinesis is achieved tobacco bright yellow-2 (BY-2) cultured cells during through the formation of a new cross-wall, called the cell telophase inhibits the centrifugal expansion of their plate, which stretches from the interior to the periphery of phragmoplasts, producing cells with abnormally thick cell the cell [1]. Materials for the construction of the cell plate plates that apparently result from the increased accumula- are supplied from the Golgi complex through the vesicle tion of vesicles (Figure 1d). The requirement for MT trafficking system [2,3•,4•]. Membrane vesicles that have depolymerization during phragmoplast expansion indicates budded from the Golgi fuse with one another to form an that neither the pushing force of the cell plate nor the immature cell plate between the two daughter nuclei. The pulling force of the parental cell walls is responsible for the Cell biology
Diagram of phragmoplast expansion and (b) Brefeldin A treatment
cell-plate formation in normal, drug-treated, or
genetically modified plant cells. (a) In a normal
plant cell, a phragmoplast is assembled with
anti-parallel MTs overlapping in the center attheir plus ends (+). Fusion of Golgi-derivedvesicles (open circles), through fusion tubes in the equatorial zone of the phragmoplast, gives rise to a FTN (orange), whichsuccessively maturates into a TVN (red), a TN (pink), and a fenestrated sheet/cell plate (blue). In (a), green bars represent MTs that (c) Caffeine treatment
have recently been polymerized, or in (b,c),
that are not yet destined for depolymerization,
whereas gray bars represent MTs that are destined for depolymerization during the nextstage. Note that the shape of thephragmoplast changes during the transitionfrom a cylinder to a ring, which is marked byan asterisk. (b) Brefeldin A blocks the supplyof vesicles by disrupting the Golgi, resulting ina lack of cell-plate materials in thephragmoplast equator. (c) Caffeine blocks thematuration of the FTN into the TVN, which eventually results in the collapse of the FTN.
(d) Taxol blocks the depolymerization of MTs,
which inhibits phragmoplast expansion but
(d) Taxol treatment or
allows the formation of an incomplete cell kinase-negative NPK1 plate. Overexpression of a kinase-negative mutant of the NPK1 MAPKKK results in asimilar phenotype. Note that, in (b−d),phragmoplasts are never transformed intoring shapes.
incomplete cell plate Current Opinion in Plant Biology mechanical enlargement of the phragmoplast. Rather, it fluorescein-labeled tubulins, Hush et al. [13] observed a seems more likely that the supply of free tubulins, which rapid and uniform recovery of fluorescence. This observa- have been depolymerized from preexisting MTs on the tion is more consistent with a mechanism of dynamic inner side of the phragmoplast, forces the lateral expansion instability and exchange of tubulin dimers than with of the phragmoplast by constructing new MT arrays at its treadmilling. Therefore, depolymerization of MTs might outer edge. Thus, the phragmoplast appears to possess an also occur at the plus end of MTs in the phragmoplast. If activity that can initiate MT polymerization at its outer edge.
this were the case, then MTs on the inner side of thephragmoplast would be more unstable than those on the The incorporation of free tubulins into the phragmoplast is known to occur at the plus ends of MTs located in theequatorial zone [11,12]. On the basis of the fluorescence Phragmoplast MT-associated proteins (MAPs)
redistribution after photobleaching (FRAP) analysis per- Recently, two classes of MT-associated proteins (MAPs), formed by Hush et al. [13], phragmoplast MTs seem to which are possible regulators of MT dynamics, have been exhibit dynamic instability [14]. Following the photo- shown to localize to the phragmoplast. One of these classes bleaching of phragmoplast MTs that had incorporated is comprised of the kinesin-like MT-based motor proteins Expansion of the phragmoplast during plant cytokinesis Nishihama and Machida 509
(KLPs). Plus-end-directed KLPs, including Xenopus kinesin characteristic sequences. Our computer-based analysis also central motor1 (XKCM1) [15] and Xenopus kinesin predicted that NtMAP65-1 proteins may form a highly superfamily2 (XKIF2) [16], and the minus end-directed α-helical structure similar to that of PRC1 (R Nishihama, KLP KAR3 [17] are known to depolymerize MTs at the Y Machida, unpublished data).
plus and minus end, respectively (reviewed in [18]).
Arabidopsis thaliana phragmoplast-associated kinesin- After anaphase, PRC1 is restricted to plus-end MT-over- related protein1 (AtPAKRP1) is localized to the center of lapping regions [25], a pattern that is reminiscent of the phragmoplast, and microinjection of anti-AtPAKRP1 NtMAP65-1 localization in plant cells. Remarkably, the antibodies or truncated AtPAKRP1 proteins into tobacco microinjection of anti-PRC1 antibodies into HeLa cells BY-2 cells leads to the disorganization of phragmoplast blocks the completion of cytokinesis [25]. Although it is MTs [19••]. Carrot DcKRP120-2 (Daucus carota kinesin- still unclear what PRC1 actually does to MTs, this study related protein of 120 kDa-2) is a KLP homologue of on PRC1 raises the possibility that NtMAP65-1 proteins tobacco TKRP125 (tobacco kinesin-related polypeptide of also control the progression of cytokinesis in plants by 125 kDa) [20•], which possesses an activity that translo- regulating phragmoplast-MT dynamics. Whether PRC1 cates phragmoplast MTs toward their minus ends.
and Ase1 actively promote MT polymerization is now an TKRP125 is localized to whole arrays of phragmoplast open question.
MTs except for their plus ends [21]. Unlike TKRP125,DcKRP120-2 is also localized to the MT-interdigitating Recent studies have revealed the existence of plant zone of the phragmoplast [20•]. The minus end-directed proteins in addition to the NtMAP65-1 family that have KLPs, KCBP (kinesin-like calmodulin-binding protein) [22] homologies to animal MAPs [28•,29•]. Furthermore, our and KatA (kinesin-like protein in Arabidopsis thaliana A) brief search of the complete Arabidopsis genome sequence [23], localize along the length of phragmoplast MTs. It will revealed two putative MAPs with similarity to human be intriguing to test the effects of these KLPs on MT dis- EB1 protein and MAP1A/B light chain 3 (R Nishihama, assembly. The roles of these KLPs in the progression of M Y Machida, unpublished data). Interestingly, EB1 is phase or the expansion of phragmoplasts remain unknown.
known to localize to MT plus ends and is involved in theregional control of MT dynamics and capture (see [30,31] Another MAP family is comprised of the structural MAPs for reviews). Further research should be performed to test recently identified by Smertenko et al. [24••]. They identi- the involvement of various MAPs in the regulation of fied a member of the tobacco NtMAP65-1 (Nicotiana phragmoplast MT dynamics.
tabacum MAP65-1) family that is able to bind to taxol-stabilized MTs. This MAP promotes polymerization of Co-ordination of phragmoplast expansion with
MTs in vitro but does not promote the bundling of MTs [24••]. This polymerizing activity is sufficient to classify As described above, expansion of the phragmoplast is the protein as a MT-dynamics regulator. Antiserum that essential for the lateral growth of the cell plate. Cell-plate recognizes multiple members of the NtMAP65-1 family formation and phragmoplast expansion are co-dependent: does not stain all MT arrays. At metaphase, the antiserum without formation of the cell plate the phragmoplast never stains an area of spindle MTs proximal to the metaphase expands. For example, the use of brefeldin A (BFA), a plate but not those at the pole [24••]. The antibody also chemical that disrupts the Golgi apparatus, to block the stains the spindle midzone and the phragmoplast equator- supply of vesicles carrying cell-plate materials prevents the ial zone [24••]. These patterns of localization suggest a role formation of the cell plate and results in the generation of for NtMAP65-1 proteins in the regulation of MT dynamics binucleate cells [2], but does not disturb phragmoplast in specific areas of the spindle and the phragmoplast where formation [32]. Interestingly, under appropriate conditions, MTs overlap at their plus ends.
BFA treatment completely arrests the lateral expansion ofphragmoplasts at the cylindrical stage after only an initial It is intriguing to note that NtMAP65-1 proteins have slight enlargement [32] (Figure 1b). These phragmoplasts significant amino-acid-sequence homology to two other no longer become ring-shaped and no MT disassembly MAPs: human PRC1 (Protein Regulator of Cytokinesis1), takes place in their central region. Thus, the process of which is required for cytokinesis [25], and yeast Ase1 phragmoplast expansion is tightly linked to cell-plate (Anaphase spindle elongation1), which is required for formation. This finding suggests that there may be a spindle assembly, elongation and disassembly [26]. PRC1 mechanism that induces MT depolymerization in and Ase1 share two notable sequence features: a consensus response to cell-plate formation.
cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) phosphorylation site anda sequence that is similar to a mitotic cyclin destruction What is the cue for MT depolymerization? Caffeine is box. It has been proven both in vivo and in vitro that PRC known to disrupt cell-plate formation in plants ([33] and is phosphorylated at the consensus CDK phosphorylation references therein). In Tradescantia stamen-hair cells treated sites by CDK2 [25]. It has also been proven that Ase1 is a with caffeine, cell-plate formation is initiated but the target of proteolysis mediated by the anaphase-promoting immature cell plate ceases to grow and is ultimately complex [27]. NtMAP65-1 proteins also exhibit these degraded after it has expanded to about three-quarters Cell biology
of the cell's width [34]. Although the initiation of the These findings suggest a role for NPK1 in cytokinesis.
phragmoplast is not inhibited in this system, the phrag- Indeed, inhibition of NPK1 signaling has been shown to moplast fails to adopt a ring structure and remains fixed result in a defect in cytokinesis [39••]. Overexpression of a as a cylindrical structure (Figure 1c). Electron microscopy kinase-negative mutant of NPK1 (NPK1KW) induces the of cryofixed BY-2 cells shows that caffeine disrupts the formation of multinucleate cells that contain incomplete conversion of the FTN into the TVN during the develop- disc-shaped cell plates. This mutant protein still localizes ment of the cell plate [33,35]. This implies that a minimal to the equator of the phragmoplast. The phragmoplast level of TVN formation is required for the induction of does not expand, however, in NPK1KW-overexpressing MT disassembly. Consistent with this finding, it has been plants (Figure 1d). Thus, NPK1 regulates the expansion of observed that phragmoplast MTs are associated with the both the cell plate and the phragmoplast.
TVN but not with the TN [5] (Figure 1a). Taken together,these results suggest that MT depolymerization is induced It should be noted that NPK1KW-induced incomplete cell during the TVN→TN transition. An ultrastructural study plates that are formed in NPK1KW-expressing cells con- has also revealed several features of the TVN, such as tain callose [39••], a polysaccharide whose synthesis is assembly of the fuzzy membrane coat, widening of the initiated at the TVN stage [5] (see above). Thus, it would connecting tubules, formation of clathrin-coated buds, and appear that NPK1 is primarily involved in a step that takes initiation of callose synthesis [5]. These features are good place after the formation of the TVN, that is, in the out- candidates for events that constitute ‘MT-disassembly ward redistribution of phragmoplast MTs. Consistent with signals'. In conclusion, cell-plate expansion is driven by this, the effect provoked by blocking NPK1 signaling is successive rounds of the following events: vesicle transport similar to that of taxol treatment (see above; Figure 1d).
to the phragmoplast equator, formation of the FTN by NPK1 might regulate MT depolymerization at plus ends vesicle fusion, maturation of the FTN into the TVN, and in response to MT-disassembly signals generated in the MT disassembly on the inside and its reassembly on the TVN/TN. There is, however, still a possibility that NPK1 outside of phragmoplast. might be involved in some of the earlier steps if inhibitionby the dominant-negative mutant were not complete.
A mitogen-activated protein kinase
(MAPK) cascade as a regulator of

The identification of downstream targets of NPK1 will be decisive in completing our understanding of the molecular A coupling mechanism should exist between the events mechanism of phragmoplast expansion. It will be intriguing involved in cell-plate formation and the disassembly of to examine whether NPK1 regulates the MAPs that are phragmoplast MTs. Recent studies have suggested the mentioned above and, if so, whether this regulation is involvement of a mitogen-activated protein kinase mediated directly by NPK1 or indirectly through a putative (MAPK) cascade in the regulation of such a coupling MAPK cascade initiated by NPK1. In light of this, it should mechanism [36–38,39••]. The MAPK cascade is a signaling be noted that the p43Ntf6 MAPK from tobacco [36] and pathway that is conserved in all eukaryotes and that alfalfa MMK3 (Medicago MAPK3) [37] are activated during consists of members of three protein kinase families. In cytokinesis. Both of these proteins are localized to the their respective order in the signaling cascade, they are the equatorial zone of the phragmoplast, and MMK3 is also MAPK kinase kinase (MAPKKK) family, the MAPK localized to the cell plate. Most recently, a tobacco kinase (MAPKK) family and the MAPK family [40].
MAPKK, Nicotiana tabacum MAPK/extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase kinase (NtMEK1), that activates On the basis of the sites of its transcript accumulation, a p43Ntf6 has been identified as a possible component of a tobacco MAPKKK, Nucleus- and Phragmoplast-localized MAPK cascade involved in phragmoplast expansion [38], Protein kinase1 (NPK1) [41], has been suggested to play a although its sub-cellular localization remains to be deter- role in cell division [42]. The accumulation of NPK1 protein mined. Thus, phragmoplast expansion in tobacco may be is cell-cycle dependent; proteins are present in the cell regulated by a MAPK cascade, involving NPK1 MAPKKK, from S to M phase, with a peak in accumulation during NtMEK1 MAPKK and p43Ntf6 MAPK, although evidence Mphase, after which NPK1 is degraded [39••]. NPK1 is for the involvement of NtMEK1 and p43Ntf6 remains to confined to the nucleus from S phase to prophase [39••].
NPK1 kinase activity is transiently increased late in Mphase [39••]. Upon nuclear envelope breakdown, NPK1 In animal cells, active MAPKs have been shown to be proteins are dispersed into the cytoplasm and localize in localized to the spindle midzone and midbody, a cytokinetic patches until early anaphase. By late anaphase, NPK1 bridge composed of MTs [43,44]. Although direct evidence begins to concentrate at the spindle midzone before for the involvement of MAPKs in cytokinesis is still lack- becoming localized to the equatorial zone of the cylindrical ing, we speculate that animal MAPKs might also regulate phragmoplast. During cytokinesis, NPK1 is consistently MT dynamics. In animal cells, cytokinesis proceeds in an found at the equator of the ring-shaped phragmoplast, but outside-in mode by the constriction of the cortex.
not at the cell plate. Some NPK1 proteins relocate back to Therefore, spindle MTs must change their positions to the reforming daughter nuclei.
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We thank Hiroki Yasuhara, Tetsuhiro Asada, and members of the Machidalaboratory for helpful discussion. Work performed by the authors was 18. Hunter AW, Wordeman L: How motor proteins influence
supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas (Award microtubule polymerization dynamics. J Cell Sci 2000,
numbers 0678101-3 and 10182101-2) from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports; and by a grant from the Research 19. Lee YR, Liu B: Identification of a phragmoplast-associated
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