Unique Functional Characteristics of the Polymerization and MAP Binding Regulatory Domains of Plant Tubulin
The Plant Cell
An understanding of the regulation of microtubule polymerization and dynamics in plant cells requires biochemical information on the structures, functions, and molecular interactions of plant tubulin and microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) that regulate microtubule function. We have probed the regulatory domain and polymerization domain of purified maize tubulin using MAP2, an extensively characterized mammalian neumnal MAP. MAP2 bound to the surface of preformed, taxol-stabilized maize
... abilized maize microtubules, with binding saturation occurring with one MAP2 molecule per five to six tubulin dimers, as it does with mammalian microtubules. MAP2 binding and dissociation analyses revealed two affinity classes of binding sites on maize microtubules: a high-affinity site 12 dimers apart that may be homologous to the cognate mammalian MAP2 binding site and an additional low-affinity site also 12 dimers apart that may be homologous to the mammalian tau binding site. MAPS corrected in vitro folding errors in taxol-stabilized maize microtubules and reduced the critical concentration of maize tubulin polymerization eightfold, from 8.3 to 1.0 pM. However, MAPS dissociated much more readily from maize microtubules than from mammalian microtubules and induced the assembly of maize tubulin into aberrant helical ribbon polymers that remained stable for prolonged periods. Our results indicated that MAPS binds to maize tubulin via a partially specific, low-fidelity interaction that reflects unique structural and functional properties of the polymerization and regulatory domains of plant tubulin and possibly of the tubulin binding domains of undocumented MAPs that regulate microtubule function in plant cells.