The impact of mechanical compression on cortical microtubules in Arabidopsis: a quantitative pipeline.
ABSTRACT: Exogenous mechanical perturbations on living tissues are commonly used to investigate whether cell effectors can respond to mechanical cues. However, in most of these experiments, the applied mechanical stress and/or the biological response are described only qualitatively. We developed a quantitative pipeline based on microindentation and image analysis to investigate the impact of a controlled and prolonged compression on microtubule behaviour in the Arabidopsis shoot apical meristem, using microtubule fluorescent marker lines. We found that a compressive stress, in the order of magnitude of turgor pressure, induced apparent microtubule bundling. Importantly, that response could be reversed several hours after the release of compression. Next, we tested the contribution of microtubule severing to compression-induced bundling: microtubule bundling seemed less pronounced in the katanin mutant, in which microtubule severing is dramatically reduced. Conversely, some microtubule bundles could still be observed 16 h after the release of compression in the spiral2 mutant, in which severing rate is instead increased. To quantify the impact of mechanical stress on anisotropy and orientation of microtubule arrays, we used the nematic tensor based FibrilTool ImageJ/Fiji plugin. To assess the degree of apparent bundling of the network, we developed several methods, some of which were borrowed from geostatistics. The final microtubule bundling response could notably be related to tissue growth velocity that was recorded by the indenter during compression. Because both input and output are quantified, this pipeline is an initial step towards correlating more precisely the cytoskeleton response to mechanical stress in living tissues.
Project description:One of the defining characteristics of plant growth and morphology is the pivotal role of cell expansion. While the mechanical properties of the cell wall determine both the extent and direction of cell expansion, the cortical microtubule array plays a critical role in cell wall organization and, consequently, determining directional (anisotropic) cell expansion. The microtubule-severing enzyme katanin is essential for plants to form aligned microtubule arrays; however, increasing severing activity alone is not sufficient to drive microtubule alignment. Here, we demonstrate that katanin activity depends upon the behavior of the microtubule-associated protein (MAP) SPIRAL2 (SPR2). Petiole cells in the cotyledon epidermis exhibit well-aligned microtubule arrays, whereas adjacent pavement cells exhibit unaligned arrays, even though SPR2 is found at similar levels in both cell types. In pavement cells, however, SPR2 accumulates at microtubule crossover sites, where it stabilizes these crossovers and prevents severing. In contrast, in the adjacent petiole cells, SPR2 is constantly moving along the microtubules, exposing crossover sites that become substrates for severing. Consequently, our study reveals a novel mechanism whereby microtubule organization is determined by dynamics and localization of a MAP that regulates where and when microtubule severing occurs.
Project description:The cortical microtubule arrays of higher plants are organized without centrosomes and feature treadmilling polymers that are dynamic at both ends. The control of polymer end stability is fundamental for the assembly and organization of cytoskeletal arrays, yet relatively little is understood about how microtubule minus ends are controlled in acentrosomal microtubule arrays, and no factors have been identified that act at the treadmilling minus ends in higher plants. Here, we identify Arabidopsis thaliana SPIRAL2 (SPR2) as a protein that tracks minus ends and protects them against subunit loss. SPR2 function is required to facilitate the rapid reorientation of plant cortical arrays as stimulated by light perception, a process that is driven by microtubule severing to create a new population of microtubules. Quantitative live-cell imaging and computer simulations reveal that minus protection by SPR2 acts by an unexpected mechanism to promote the lifetime of potential SPR2 severing sites, increasing the likelihood of severing and thus the rapid amplification of the new microtubule array.
Project description:The microtubule-severing enzyme katanin (KTN1) regulates the organization and turnover of microtubule arrays by the localized breakdown of microtubule polymers. In land plants, KTN1 activity is essential for the formation of linearly organized cortical microtubule arrays that determine the axis of cell expansion. Cell biological studies have shown that even though KTN1 binds to the sidewalls of single and bundled microtubules, severing activity is restricted to microtubule cross-over and nucleation sites, indicating that cells contain protective mechanisms to prevent indiscriminate microtubule severing. Here, we show that the microtubule-bundling protein MAP65-1 inhibits KTN1-mediated microtubule severing in vitro. Severing is inhibited at bundled microtubule segments and the severing rate of nonbundled microtubules is reduced by MAP65-1 in a concentration-dependent manner. Using various MAP65-1 mutant proteins, we demonstrate that efficient cross-linking of microtubules is crucial for this protective effect and that microtubule binding alone is not sufficient. Reduced severing due to microtubule bundling by MAP65-1 correlated to decreased binding of KTN1 to these microtubules. Taken together, our work reveals that cross-linking of microtubules by MAP65-1 confers resistance to severing by inhibiting the binding of KTN1 and identifies the structural features of MAP65-1 that are important for this activity.
Project description:Plant morphogenesis requires differential and often asymmetric growth. A key role in controlling anisotropic expansion of individual cells is played by the cortical microtubule array. Although highly organized, the array can nevertheless rapidly change in response to internal and external cues. Experiments have identified the microtubule-severing enzyme katanin as a central player in controlling the organizational state of the array. Katanin action is required both for normal alignment and the adaptation of array orientation to mechanical, environmental, and developmental stimuli. How katanin fulfills its controlling role, however, remains poorly understood. On the one hand, from a theoretical perspective, array ordering depends on the "weeding out" of discordant microtubules through frequent catastrophe-inducing collisions among microtubules. Severing would reduce average microtubule length and lifetime, and consequently weaken the driving force for alignment. On the other hand, it has been suggested that selective severing at microtubule crossovers could facilitate the removal of discordant microtubules. Here we show that this apparent conflict can be resolved by systematically dissecting the role of all of the relevant interactions in silico. This procedure allows the identification of the sufficient and necessary conditions for katanin to promote array alignment, stresses the critical importance of the experimentally observed selective severing of the "crossing" microtubule at crossovers, and reveals a hitherto not appreciated role for microtubule bundling. We show how understanding the underlying mechanism can aid with interpreting experimental results and designing future experiments.
Project description:Contemporary research has revealed a great deal of information on the behaviours of microtubules that underlie critical events in the lives of neurons. Microtubules in the neuron undergo dynamic assembly and disassembly, bundling and splaying, severing, and rapid transport as well as integration with other cytoskeletal elements such as actin filaments. These various behaviours are regulated by signalling pathways that affect microtubule-related proteins such as molecular motor proteins and microtubule severing enzymes, as well as a variety of proteins that promote the assembly, stabilization and bundling of microtubules. In recent years, translational neuroscientists have earmarked microtubules as a promising target for therapy of injury and disease of the nervous system. Proof-of-principle has come mainly from studies using taxol and related drugs to pharmacologically stabilize microtubules in animal models of nerve injury and disease. However, concerns persist that the negative consequences of abnormal microtubule stabilization may outweigh the positive effects. Other potential approaches include microtubule-active drugs with somewhat different properties, but also expanding the therapeutic toolkit to include intervention at the level of microtubule regulatory proteins.
Project description:The contribution of microtubule tip dynamics to the assembly and function of plant microtubule arrays remains poorly understood. Here, we report that the Arabidopsis SPIRAL2 (SPR2) protein modulates the dynamics of the acentrosomal cortical microtubule plus and minus ends in an opposing manner. Live imaging of a functional SPR2-mRuby fusion protein revealed that SPR2 shows both microtubule plus- and minus-end tracking activity in addition to localization at microtubule intersections and along the lattice. Analysis of microtubule dynamics showed that cortical microtubule plus ends rarely undergo catastrophe in the spr2-2 knockout mutant compared to wild-type. In contrast, cortical microtubule minus ends in spr2-2 depolymerized at a much faster rate than in wild-type. Destabilization of the minus ends in spr2-2 caused a significant decrease in the lifetime of microtubule crossovers, which dramatically reduced the microtubule-severing frequency and inhibited light-induced microtubule array reorientation. Using in vitro reconstitution experiments combined with single-molecule imaging, we found that recombinant SPR2-GFP intrinsically localizes to microtubule minus ends, where it binds stably and inhibits their dynamics. Together, our data establish SPR2 as a new type of microtubule tip regulator that governs the length and lifetime of microtubules.
Project description:Although it is a central question in biology, how cell shape controls intracellular dynamics largely remains an open question. Here, we show that the shape of Arabidopsis pavement cells creates a stress pattern that controls microtubule orientation, which then guides cell wall reinforcement. Live-imaging, combined with modeling of cell mechanics, shows that microtubules align along the maximal tensile stress direction within the cells, and atomic force microscopy demonstrates that this leads to reinforcement of the cell wall parallel to the microtubules. This feedback loop is regulated: cell-shape derived stresses could be overridden by imposed tissue level stresses, showing how competition between subcellular and supracellular cues control microtubule behavior. Furthermore, at the microtubule level, we identified an amplification mechanism in which mechanical stress promotes the microtubule response to stress by increasing severing activity. These multiscale feedbacks likely contribute to the robustness of microtubule behavior in plant epidermis. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01967.001.
Project description:In yeast, separation of duplicated spindle pole bodies (SPBs) (centrosomes in higher eukaryotes) is an indispensable step in the assembly of mitotic spindle and is triggered by severing of the bridge that connects the sister SPBs. This process requires Cdk1 (Cdc28) activation by Tyrosine 19 dephosphorylation. We show that cells that fail to activate Cdk1 are devoid of spindles due to persistently active APCCdh1, which targets microtubule-associated proteins Cin8, Kip1 and Ase1 for degradation. Tyrosine 19 dephosphorylation of Cdk1 is necessary to specifically prevent proteolysis of these proteins. Interestingly, SPB separation is dependent on the microtubule-bundling activity of Cin8 but not on its motor function. Since ectopic expression of proteolysis-resistant Cin8, Kip1 or Ase1 is sufficient for SPB separation even in the absence of Cdc28-Clb activity, we suggest that stabilization of these mechanical force-generating proteins is the predominant role of Cdc28-Clb in centrosome separation.
Project description:Accurate chromosome segregation depends on proper kinetochore-microtubule attachment. Upon microtubule interaction, kinetochores are subjected to forces generated by the microtubules. In this work, we used laser ablation to sever microtubules attached to a merotelic kinetochore, which is laterally stretched by opposing pulling forces exerted by microtubules, and inferred the mechanical response of the kinetochore from its length change. In both mammalian PtK1 cells and in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, kinetochores shortened after microtubule severing. Interestingly, the inner kinetochore-centromere relaxed faster than the outer kinetochore. Whereas in fission yeast all kinetochores relaxed to a similar length, in PtK1 cells the more stretched kinetochores remained more stretched. Simple models suggest that these differences arise because the mechanical structure of the mammalian kinetochore is more complex. Our study establishes merotelic kinetochores as an experimental model for studying the mechanical response of the kinetochore in live cells and reveals a viscoelastic behavior of the kinetochore that is conserved in yeast and mammalian cells.
Project description:Accurate chromosome segregation depends on proper kinetochore–microtubule attachment. Upon microtubule interaction, kinetochores are subjected to forces generated by the microtubules. In this work, we used laser ablation to sever microtubules attached to a merotelic kinetochore, which is laterally stretched by opposing pulling forces exerted by microtubules, and inferred the mechanical response of the kinetochore from its length change. In both mammalian PtK1 cells and in the fission yeast<jats:italic>Schizosaccharomyces pombe</jats:italic>, kinetochores shortened after microtubule severing. Interestingly, the inner kinetochore–centromere relaxed faster than the outer kinetochore. Whereas in fission yeast all kinetochores relaxed to a similar length, in PtK1 cells the more stretched kinetochores remained more stretched. Simple models suggest that these differences arise because the mechanical structure of the mammalian kinetochore is more complex. Our study establishes merotelic kinetochores as an experimental model for studying the mechanical response of the kinetochore in live cells and reveals a viscoelastic behavior of the kinetochore that is conserved in yeast and mammalian cells.