Spatiotemporal relationships between growth and microtubule orientation as revealed in living root cells of Arabidopsis thaliana transformed with green-fluorescent-protein gene construct GFP-MBD

Protoplasma. 2001;216(3-4):201-14. doi: 10.1007/BF02673872.


Arabidopsis thaliana plants were transformed with GFP-MBD (J. Marc et al., Plant Cell 10: 1927-1939, 1998) under the control of a constitutive (35S) or copper-inducible promoter. GFP-specific fluorescence distributions, levels, and persistence were determined and found to vary with age, tissue type, transgenic line, and individual plant. With the exception of an increased frequency of abnormal roots of 35S GFP-MBD plants grown on kanamycin-containing media, expression of GFP-MBD does not appear to affect plant phenotype. The number of leaves, branches, bolts, and siliques as well as overall height, leaf size, and seed set are similar between wild-type and transgenic plants as is the rate of root growth. Thus, we conclude that the transgenic plants can serve as a living model system in which the dynamic behavior of microtubules can be visualized. Confocal microscopy was used to simultaneously monitor growth and microtubule behavior within individual cells as they passed through the elongation zone of the Arabidopsis root. Generally, microtubules reoriented from transverse to oblique or longitudinal orientations as growth declined. Microtubule reorientation initiated at the ends of the cell did not necessarily occur simultaneously in adjacent neighboring cells and did not involve complete disintegration and repolymerization of microtubule arrays. Although growth rates correlated with microtubule reorientation, the two processes were not tightly coupled in terms of their temporal relationships, suggesting that other factor(s) may be involved in regulating both events. Additionally, microtubule orientation was more defined in cells whose growth was accelerating and less stringent in cells whose growth was decelerating, indicating that microtubule-orienting factor(s) may be sensitive to growth acceleration, rather than growth per se.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis / ultrastructure*
  • Cell Polarity
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Indicators and Reagents / metabolism
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure*
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / ultrastructure*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins