Tobacco protoplasts differentiate into elongate cells without net microtubule depolymerization

Carol L. Kuss-Wymer, Richard Cyr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Microtubules (MTs) are important for plant cell morphogenesis because they influence the deposition of cell plate and wall components. It has been observed that tobacco protoplasts contain a disordered MT array in the cortex. Following several days in culture, these protoplasts become elongate cells with an orderly cortical MT array. The transformation of the MT array may occur by net depolymerization of the disordered MTs and repolymerization of MTs into an ordered array, or by movement of the array as an integral unit. To experimentally distinguish between these two possibilities, the drug taxol was used to stabilize MTs. Protoplasts derived from suspension cultured tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum, were grown in a medium containing the two plant hormones α-naphthaleneacetic acid and benzyladenine, in the presence or absence of 10μM taxol. Changes in cell size and shape were quantified using a video image analysis system. Cell elongation had begun within 48h of protoplast conversion, in both treatments, and continued for 7 days. Immunolocalization of tubulin showed that, in the majority of cells, MTs were disorganized immediately following protoplast conversion. After elongation, the MT arrays were observed to have reoriented to an ordered state. Taxol-treated protoplasts were found to elongate faster and to a greater extent than the non-treated controls. Additionally, the cortical array of taxol-treated protoplasts reorganized more quickly. These data indicate that the net depolymerization of disordered cortical MTs is not necessarily required for the differentiation of a protoplast into an elongate cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-72
Number of pages9
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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