Regulation of organization and function of microtubules by the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade during plant cytokinesis

Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 2012 Nov;69(11):913-8. doi: 10.1002/cm.21072. Epub 2012 Oct 1.


Cytokinesis in eukaryotes involves specific arrays of microtubules (MTs), which are known as the central spindle in animals, the anaphase spindle in yeasts, and the phragmoplast in plants. In plants, a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade stimulates the turnover of phragmoplast MTs, which allows the expansion of the phragmoplast that is essential for cytokinesis including the formation of cell plates. A prerequisite for activation of this cascade is the interaction between mitotic kinesin NACK1 in tobacco (HINKEL in Arabidopsis) and MAPK kinase kinase NPK1 (ANP1, 2, 3 in Arabidopsis). Other members of this cascade are NQK1 MAPK kinase and NRK1/NTF6 MAPK in tobacco and the respective orthologs in Arabidopsis. All the components in the pathway (designated the NACK-PQR pathway) concentrate at the midzone of the phragmoplast in plant cells during cytokinesis. Downstream MAPKs in both plant species phosphorylate microtubule-associated protein 65 (MAP65). Interestingly, activities of components in the NACK-PQR pathway are downregulated by depolymerization of MTs. In the present review, we summarize current views on the mechanisms involved in activating the kinase cascade, a role of MAP65 phosphorylation by MAPK during cytokinesis, and the feedback mechanism for regulating inactivation of the kinase cascade.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Cytokinesis / physiology*
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / genetics
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Microtubules / genetics
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Tobacco / genetics
  • Tobacco / metabolism*


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases