Subcellular signalling by mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) was originally regarded as a means to regulate microtubule (MT) organization and dynamics, but with time MAPKs were assigned to broader roles concerning biotic and abiotic signal transductions. MAPKs, which regulate a broad spectrum of substrates including transcription factors and cytoskeletal proteins, belong to complex MAPK cascades, which are mainly involved in plant development and in plant stress responses. The fact that single MAPK can be regulated by more than a single MAPKKK/MAPKK pair make MAPK signalling modules versatile tools in the regulation of microtubule organization. Until recently, the best-studied MAPK module implicated in cytoskeletal regulation is the NACK-PQR pathway in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). Homologues of each constituent of this pathway were also discovered in Arabidopsis thaliana. So far, direct phosphorylation of tubulins by MAPKs has not been shown. However, the first MAPK-related substrate involved in the regulation of MT dynamics to have been identified is MT-associated protein MAP65-1.
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