The function of TONNEAU1 in moss reveals ancient mechanisms of division plane specification and cell elongation in land plants

Development. 2010 Aug;137(16):2733-42. doi: 10.1242/dev.043810.


The preprophase band (PPB) is a transient ring of microtubules that forms before mitosis in land plants, and delineates the cytokinetic division plane established at telophase. It is one of the few derived traits specific to embryophytes, in which it is involved in the spatial control of cell division. Here we show that loss of function of Physcomitrella patens PpTON1 strongly affects development of the moss gametophore, phenocopying the developmental syndrome observed in Arabidopsis ton1 mutants: mutant leafy shoots display random orientation of cell division and severe defects in cell elongation, which are correlated with absence of PPB formation and disorganization of the cortical microtubule array in interphase cells. In hypomorphic Ppton1 alleles, PPB are still formed, whereas elongation defects are observed, showing the dual function of TON1 in organizing cortical arrays of microtubules during both interphase and premitosis. Ppton1 mutation has no impact on development of the protonema, which is consistent with the documented absence of PPB formation at this stage, apart from alteration of the gravitropic response, uncovering a new function of TON1 proteins in plants. Successful reciprocal cross-complementation between Physcomitrella and Arabidopsis shows conservation of TON1 function during land plant evolution. These results establish the essential role of the PPB in division plane specification in a basal land plant lineage, and provide new information on the function of TON1. They point to an ancient mechanism of cytoskeletal control of division plane positioning and cell elongation in land plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Bryopsida / enzymology*
  • Bryopsida / growth & development*
  • Bryopsida / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / genetics
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / metabolism*


  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases