Academic Appointments

2023-24 Courses

All Publications

  • CLASP stabilization of plus ends created by severing promotes microtubule creation and reorientation. The Journal of cell biology Lindeboom, J. J., Nakamura, M., Saltini, M., Hibbel, A., Walia, A., Ketelaar, T., Emons, A. M., Sedbrook, J. C., Kirik, V., Mulder, B. M., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2018


    Central to the building and reorganizing cytoskeletal arrays is creation of new polymers. Although nucleation has been the major focus of study for microtubule generation, severing has been proposed as an alternative mechanism to create new polymers, a mechanism recently shown to drive the reorientation of cortical arrays of higher plants in response to blue light perception. Severing produces new plus ends behind the stabilizing GTP-cap. An important and unanswered question is how these ends are stabilized in vivo to promote net microtubule generation. Here we identify the conserved protein CLASP as a potent stabilizer of new plus ends created by katanin severing in plant cells. Clasp mutants are defective in cortical array reorientation. In these mutants, both rescue of shrinking plus ends and the stabilization of plus ends immediately after severing are reduced. Computational modeling reveals that it is the specific stabilization of severed ends that best explains CLASP's function in promoting microtubule amplification by severing and array reorientation.

    View details for PubMedID 30377221

  • SPR2 protects minus ends to promote severing and reorientation of plant cortical microtubule arrays JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY Nakamura, M., Lindeboom, J. J., Saltini, M., Mulder, B. M., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2018; 217 (3): 915–27


    The cortical microtubule arrays of higher plants are organized without centrosomes and feature treadmilling polymers that are dynamic at both ends. The control of polymer end stability is fundamental for the assembly and organization of cytoskeletal arrays, yet relatively little is understood about how microtubule minus ends are controlled in acentrosomal microtubule arrays, and no factors have been identified that act at the treadmilling minus ends in higher plants. Here, we identify Arabidopsis thaliana SPIRAL2 (SPR2) as a protein that tracks minus ends and protects them against subunit loss. SPR2 function is required to facilitate the rapid reorientation of plant cortical arrays as stimulated by light perception, a process that is driven by microtubule severing to create a new population of microtubules. Quantitative live-cell imaging and computer simulations reveal that minus protection by SPR2 acts by an unexpected mechanism to promote the lifetime of potential SPR2 severing sites, increasing the likelihood of severing and thus the rapid amplification of the new microtubule array.

    View details for PubMedID 29339437

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5839793

  • 50 years of Arabidopsis research: highlights and future directions NEW PHYTOLOGIST Provart, N. J., Alonso, J., Assmann, S. M., Bergmann, D., Brady, S. M., Brkljacic, J., Browse, J., Chapple, C., Colot, V., Cutler, S., Dangl, J., Ehrhardt, D., Friesner, J. D., Frommer, W. B., Grotewold, E., Meyerowitz, E., Nemhauser, J., Nordborg, M., Pikaard, C., Shanklin, J., Somerville, C., Stitt, M., Torii, K. U., Waese, J., Wagner, D., McCourt, P. 2016; 209 (3): 921-944


    922 I. 922 II. 922 III. 925 IV. 925 V. 926 VI. 927 VII. 928 VIII. 929 IX. 930 X. 931 XI. 932 XII. 933 XIII. Natural variation and genome-wide association studies 934 XIV. 934 XV. 935 XVI. 936 XVII. 937 937 References 937 SUMMARY: The year 2014 marked the 25(th) International Conference on Arabidopsis Research. In the 50 yr since the first International Conference on Arabidopsis Research, held in 1965 in Göttingen, Germany, > 54 000 papers that mention Arabidopsis thaliana in the title, abstract or keywords have been published. We present herein a citational network analysis of these papers, and touch on some of the important discoveries in plant biology that have been made in this powerful model system, and highlight how these discoveries have then had an impact in crop species. We also look to the future, highlighting some outstanding questions that can be readily addressed in Arabidopsis. Topics that are discussed include Arabidopsis reverse genetic resources, stock centers, databases and online tools, cell biology, development, hormones, plant immunity, signaling in response to abiotic stress, transporters, biosynthesis of cells walls and macromolecules such as starch and lipids, epigenetics and epigenomics, genome-wide association studies and natural variation, gene regulatory networks, modeling and systems biology, and synthetic biology.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/nph.13687

    View details for Web of Science ID 000373378000009

    View details for PubMedID 26465351

  • Visualization of cellulose synthases in Arabidopsis secondary cell walls SCIENCE Watanabe, Y., Meents, M. J., MCDONNELL, L. M., Barkwill, S., Sampathkumar, A., Cartwright, H. N., Demura, T., Ehrhardt, D. W., Samuels, A. L., Mansfield, S. D. 2015; 350 (6257): 198-203

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.aac7446

    View details for Web of Science ID 000362405600037

    View details for PubMedID 26450210

  • CESA TRAFFICKING INHIBITOR Inhibits Cellulose Deposition and Interferes with the Trafficking of Cellulose Synthase Complexes and Their Associated Proteins KORRIGAN1 and POM2/CELLULOSE SYNTHASE INTERACTIVE PROTEIN1. Plant physiology Worden, N., Wilkop, T. E., Esteve, V. E., Jeannotte, R., Lathe, R., Vernhettes, S., Weimer, B., Hicks, G., Alonso, J., Labavitch, J., Persson, S., Ehrhardt, D., Drakakaki, G. 2015; 167 (2): 381-393


    Cellulose synthase complexes (CSCs) at the plasma membrane (PM) are aligned with cortical microtubules (MTs) and direct the biosynthesis of cellulose. The mechanism of the interaction between CSCs and MTs, and the cellular determinants that control the delivery of CSCs at the PM, are not yet well understood. We identified a unique small molecule, CESA TRAFFICKING INHIBITOR (CESTRIN), which reduces cellulose content and alters the anisotropic growth of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) hypocotyls. We monitored the distribution and mobility of fluorescently labeled cellulose synthases (CESAs) in live Arabidopsis cells under chemical exposure to characterize their subcellular effects. CESTRIN reduces the velocity of PM CSCs and causes their accumulation in the cell cortex. The CSC-associated proteins KORRIGAN1 (KOR1) and POM2/CELLULOSE SYNTHASE INTERACTIVE PROTEIN1 (CSI1) were differentially affected by CESTRIN treatment, indicating different forms of association with the PM CSCs. KOR1 accumulated in bodies similar to CESA; however, POM2/CSI1 dissociated into the cytoplasm. In addition, MT stability was altered without direct inhibition of MT polymerization, suggesting a feedback mechanism caused by cellulose interference. The selectivity of CESTRIN was assessed using a variety of subcellular markers for which no morphological effect was observed. The association of CESAs with vesicles decorated by the trans-Golgi network-localized protein SYNTAXIN OF PLANTS61 (SYP61) was increased under CESTRIN treatment, implicating SYP61 compartments in CESA trafficking. The properties of CESTRIN compared with known CESA inhibitors afford unique avenues to study and understand the mechanism under which PM-associated CSCs are maintained and interact with MTs and to dissect their trafficking routes in etiolated hypocotyls.

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.114.249003

    View details for PubMedID 25535279

  • GCP-WD Mediates gamma-TuRC Recruitment and the Geometry of Microtubule Nucleation in Interphase Arrays of Arabidopsis CURRENT BIOLOGY Walia, A., Nakamura, M., Moss, D., Kirik, V., Hashimoto, T., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2014; 24 (21): 2548-2555
  • GCP-WD mediates ?-TuRC recruitment and the geometry of microtubule nucleation in interphase arrays of Arabidopsis. Current biology Walia, A., Nakamura, M., Moss, D., Kirik, V., Hashimoto, T., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2014; 24 (21): 2548-2555


    Many differentiated animal cells, and all higher plant cells, build interphase microtubule arrays of specific architectures without benefit of a central organizer, such as a centrosome, to control the location and geometry of microtubule nucleation. These acentrosomal arrays support essential cell functions such as morphogenesis, but the mechanisms by which the new microtubules are positioned and oriented are poorly understood. In higher plants, nucleation of microtubules arises from distributed γ-tubulin ring complexes (γ-TuRCs) at the cell cortex that are associated primarily with existing microtubules and from which new microtubules are nucleated in a geometrically bimodal fashion, either in parallel to the mother microtubule or as a branching event at a mean angle of approximately 40° to the mother microtubule. By imaging the dynamics of individual nucleation events in Arabidopsis, we found that a conserved peripheral protein of the γ-TuRC, GCP-WD/NEDD1, associated with motile γ-TuRCs and localized to nucleation events. Knockdown of this essential protein resulted in reduction of γ-TuRC recruitment to cortical microtubules and total nucleation frequency, showing that GCP-WD controls γ-TuRC positioning and function in these interphase arrays. Further, we discovered an unexpected role for GCP-WD in determining the geometry of microtubule-dependent microtubule nucleation, where it acts to increase the likelihood of branching over parallel nucleation. Cells with normally complex patterns of cortical array organization constructed simpler arrays with cell-wide ordering, suggesting that control of nucleation frequency, positioning, and geometry by GCP-WD allows plant cells to build alternative cortical array architectures.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2014.09.013

    View details for PubMedID 25438942

  • The Microtubule Plus-End Tracking Proteins SPR1 and EB1b Interact to Maintain Polar Cell Elongation and Directional Organ Growth in Arabidopsis. Plant cell Galva, C., Kirik, V., Lindeboom, J. J., Kaloriti, D., Rancour, D. M., Hussey, P. J., Bednarek, S. Y., Ehrhardt, D. W., Sedbrook, J. C. 2014; 26 (11): 4409-4425


    The microtubule plus-end tracking proteins (+TIPs) END BINDING1b (EB1b) and SPIRAL1 (SPR1) are required for normal cell expansion and organ growth. EB proteins are viewed as central regulators of +TIPs and cell polarity in animals; SPR1 homologs are specific to plants. To explore if EB1b and SPR1 fundamentally function together, we combined genetic, biochemical, and cell imaging approaches in Arabidopsis thaliana. We found that eb1b-2 spr1-6 double mutant roots exhibit substantially more severe polar expansion defects than either single mutant, undergoing right-looping growth and severe axial twisting instead of waving on tilted hard-agar surfaces. Protein interaction assays revealed that EB1b and SPR1 bind each other and tubulin heterodimers, which is suggestive of a microtubule loading mechanism. EB1b and SPR1 show antagonistic association with microtubules in vitro. Surprisingly, our combined analyses revealed that SPR1 can load onto microtubules and function independently of EB1 proteins, setting SPR1 apart from most studied +TIPs in animals and fungi. Moreover, we found that the severity of defects in microtubule dynamics in spr1 eb1b mutant hypocotyl cells correlated well with the severity of growth defects. These data indicate that SPR1 and EB1b have complex interactions as they load onto microtubule plus ends and direct polar cell expansion and organ growth in response to directional cues.

    View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.114.131482

    View details for PubMedID 25415978

  • COP1 Jointly Modulates Cytoskeletal Processes and Electrophysiological Responses Required for Stomatal Closure. Molecular plant Khanna, R., Li, J., Tseng, T., Schroeder, J. I., Ehrhardt, D. W., Briggs, W. R. 2014; 7 (9): 1441-1454


    Reorganization of the cortical microtubule cytoskeleton is critical for guard cell function. Here, we investigate how environmental and hormonal signals cause these rearrangements and find that COP1, a RING-finger-type ubiquitin E3 ligase, is required for degradation of tubulin, likely by the 26S proteasome. This degradation is required for stomatal closing. In addition to regulating the cytoskeleton, we show that cop1 mutation impaired the activity of S-type anion channels, which are critical for stomatal closure. Thus, COP1 is revealed as a potential coordinator of cytoskeletal and electrophysiological activities required for guard cell function.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/mp/ssu065

    View details for PubMedID 25151660

  • The Phragmoplast-Orienting Kinesin-12 Class Proteins Translate the Positional Information of the Preprophase Band to Establish the Cortical Division Zone in Arabidopsis thaliana PLANT CELL Lipka, E., Gadeyne, A., Stoeckle, D., Zimmermann, S., De Jaeger, G., Ehrhardt, D. W., Kirik, V., van Damme, D., Mueller, S. 2014; 26 (6): 2617-2632
  • Male-female communication triggers calcium signatures during fertilization in Arabidopsis. Nature communications Denninger, P., Bleckmann, A., Lausser, A., Vogler, F., Ott, T., Ehrhardt, D. W., Frommer, W. B., Sprunck, S., Dresselhaus, T., Grossmann, G. 2014; 5: 4645-?


    Cell-cell communication and interaction is critical during fertilization and triggers free cytosolic calcium ([Ca2+]cyto) as a key signal for egg activation and a polyspermy block in animal oocytes. Fertilization in flowering plants is more complex, involving interaction of a pollen tube with egg adjoining synergid cells, culminating in release of two sperm cells and their fusion with the egg and central cell, respectively. Here, we report the occurrence and role of [Ca2+]cyto signals during the entire double fertilization process in Arabidopsis. [Ca2+]cyto oscillations are initiated in synergid cells after physical contact with the pollen tube apex. In egg and central cells, a short [Ca2+]cyto transient is associated with pollen tube burst and sperm cell arrival. A second extended [Ca2+]cyto transient solely in the egg cell is correlated with successful fertilization. Thus, each female cell type involved in double fertilization displays a characteristic [Ca2+]cyto signature differing by timing and behaviour from [Ca2+]cyto waves reported in mammals.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms5645

    View details for PubMedID 25145880

  • Male-female communication triggers calcium signatures during fertilization in Arabidopsis. Nature communications Denninger, P., Bleckmann, A., Lausser, A., Vogler, F., Ott, T., Ehrhardt, D. W., Frommer, W. B., Sprunck, S., Dresselhaus, T., Grossmann, G. 2014; 5: 4645-?

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms5645

    View details for PubMedID 25145880

  • A mechanism for reorientation of cortical microtubule arrays driven by microtubule severing. Science Lindeboom, J. J., Nakamura, M., Hibbel, A., Shundyak, K., Gutierrez, R., Ketelaar, T., Emons, A. M., Mulder, B. M., Kirik, V., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2013; 342 (6163): 1245533-?


    Environmental and hormonal signals cause reorganization of microtubule arrays in higher plants, but the mechanisms driving these transitions have remained elusive. The organization of these arrays is required to direct morphogenesis. We discovered that microtubule severing by the protein katanin plays a crucial and unexpected role in the reorientation of cortical arrays, as triggered by blue light. Imaging and genetic experiments revealed that phototropin photoreceptors stimulate katanin-mediated severing specifically at microtubule intersections, leading to the generation of new microtubules at these locations. We show how this activity serves as the basis for a mechanism that amplifies microtubules orthogonal to the initial array, thereby driving array reorientation. Our observations show how severing is used constructively to build a new microtubule array.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1245533

    View details for PubMedID 24200811

  • A Mechanism for Reorientation of Cortical Microtubule Arrays Driven by Microtubule Severing SCIENCE Lindeboom, J. J., Nakamura, M., Hibbel, A., Shundyak, K., Gutierrez, R., Ketelaar, T., Emons, A. M., Mulder, B. M., Kirik, V., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2013; 342 (6163): 1202-?
  • Patterning and Lifetime of Plasma Membrane-Localized Cellulose Synthase Is Dependent on Actin Organization in Arabidopsis Interphase Cells PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Sampathkumar, A., Gutierrez, R., McFarlane, H. E., Bringmann, M., Lindeboom, J., Emons, A., Samuels, L., Ketelaar, T., Ehrhardt, D. W., Persson, S. 2013; 162 (2): 675-688


    The actin and microtubule cytoskeletons regulate cell shape across phyla, from bacteria to metazoans. In organisms with cell walls, the wall acts as a primary constraint of shape, and generation of specific cell shape depends on cytoskeletal organization for wall deposition and/or cell expansion. In higher plants, cortical microtubules help to organize cell wall construction by positioning the delivery of cellulose synthase (CesA) complexes and guiding their trajectories to orient newly synthesized cellulose microfibrils. The actin cytoskeleton is required for normal distribution of CesAs to the plasma membrane, but more specific roles for actin in cell wall assembly and organization remain largely elusive. We show that the actin cytoskeleton functions to regulate the CesA delivery rate to, and lifetime of CesAs at, the plasma membrane, which affects cellulose production. Furthermore, quantitative image analyses revealed that actin organization affects CesA tracking behavior at the plasma membrane and that small CesA compartments were associated with the actin cytoskeleton. By contrast, localized insertion of CesAs adjacent to cortical microtubules was not affected by the actin organization. Hence, both actin and microtubule cytoskeletons play important roles in regulating CesA trafficking, cellulose deposition, and organization of cell wall biogenesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.113.215277

    View details for Web of Science ID 000319819900012

    View details for PubMedID 23606596

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3668062

  • Cortical Microtubule Arrays Are Initiated from a Nonrandom Prepattern Driven by Atypical Microtubule Initiation PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Lindeboom, J. J., Lioutas, A., Deinum, E. E., Tindemans, S. H., Ehrhardt, D. W., Emons, A. M., Vos, J. W., Mulder, B. M. 2013; 161 (3): 1189-1201


    The ordered arrangement of cortical microtubules in growing plant cells is essential for anisotropic cell expansion and, hence, for plant morphogenesis. These arrays are dismantled when the microtubule cytoskeleton is rearranged during mitosis and reassembled following completion of cytokinesis. The reassembly of the cortical array has often been considered as initiating from a state of randomness, from which order arises at least partly through self-organizing mechanisms. However, some studies have shown evidence for ordering at early stages of array assembly. To investigate how cortical arrays are initiated in higher plant cells, we performed live-cell imaging studies of cortical array assembly in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) Bright Yellow-2 cells after cytokinesis and drug-induced disassembly. We found that cortical arrays in both cases did not initiate randomly but with a significant overrepresentation of microtubules at diagonal angles with respect to the cell axis, which coincides with the predominant orientation of the microtubules before their disappearance from the cell cortex in preprophase. In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) root cells, recovery from drug-induced disassembly was also nonrandom and correlated with the organization of the previous array, although no diagonal bias was observed in these cells. Surprisingly, during initiation, only about one-half of the new microtubules were nucleated from locations marked by green fluorescent protein-γ-tubulin complex protein2-tagged γ-nucleation complexes (γ-tubulin ring complex), therefore indicating that a large proportion of early polymers was initiated by a noncanonical mechanism not involving γ-tubulin ring complex. Simulation studies indicate that the high rate of noncanonical initiation of new microtubules has the potential to accelerate the rate of array repopulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.112.204057

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316984100012

    View details for PubMedID 23300168

  • Rho GTPase Signaling Activates Microtubule Severing to Promote Microtubule Ordering in Arabidopsis CURRENT BIOLOGY Lin, D., Cao, L., Zhou, Z., Zhu, L., Ehrhardt, D., Yang, Z., Fu, Y. 2013; 23 (4): 290-297


    Ordered cortical microtubule (MT) arrays play a critical role in the spatial control of cell division and expansion and are essential for plant growth, morphogenesis, and development. Various developmental, hormonal, and mechanical signals and a large number of MT-associated proteins are known to impact cortical MT organization, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Our previous studies show that auxin signaling, which is mediated by the ROP6 Rho GTPase and its effector RIC1, promotes the ordering of cortical MTs in pavement cells, but it is unknown how RIC1 controls the organization of cortical MTs into well-ordered arrays.Our genetic screens identified the conserved MT-severing protein katanin (KTN1) as a downstream component of the ROP6-RIC1 signaling pathway leading to well-ordered arrangement of cortical MTs. KTN1 and RIC1 proteins displayed overlapping localization. In vivo and in vitro studies showed that RIC1 physically interacts with and promotes the MT-severing activity of KTN1. Live-cell imaging reveals a role for RIC1 in promoting detachment of branched MTs that is known to rely on KTN1.We have demonstrated that a Rho GTPase signaling pathway regulates katanin-mediated MT severing in plant cells and uncovered an explicit regulatory mechanism underpinning the alignment and ordering of cortical MTs in plants. Our findings provide new insights into regulatory mechanisms underlying growth stimuli such as auxin promote the organization of cortical MTs into parallel arrays in plants.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2013.01.022

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315178400018

    View details for PubMedID 23394835

  • Development of Tools for the Biochemical Characterization of the Symbiotic Receptor-Like Kinase DMI2 MOLECULAR PLANT-MICROBE INTERACTIONS Riely, B. K., Larrainzar, E., Haney, C. H., Mun, J., Gil-Quintana, E., Gonzalez, E. M., Yu, H., Tricoli, D., Ehrhardt, D. W., Long, S. R., Cook, D. R. 2013; 26 (2): 216-226


    The Medicago truncatula DMI2 gene encodes a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase that is essential for symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia. While phenotypic analyses have provided a description for the host's responses mediated by DMI2, a lack of tools for in vivo biochemical analysis has hampered efforts to elucidate the mechanisms by which DMI2 mediates symbiotic signal transduction. Here, we report stably transformed M. truncatula lines that express a genomic DMI2 construct that is fused to a dual-affinity tag containing three copies of the hemagglutinin epitope and a single StrepII tag (gDMI2:HAST). gDMI2: HAST complements the dmi2-1 mutation, and transgenic plants expressing this construct behave similarly to wild-type plants. We show that the expression patterns of gDMI2:HAST recapitulate those of endogenous DMI2 and that we can detect and purify DMI2:HAST from microsomal root and nodule extracts. Using this line, we show that DMI2 resides in a high-molecular weight complex, which is consistent with our observation that DMI2:GFP localizes to plasma membrane-associated puncta and cytoplasmic vesicles. We further demonstrate that Nod factor (NF) perception increases the abundance of DMI2 vesicles. These tools should be a valuable resource for the Medicago community to dissect the biochemical function of DMI2.

    View details for DOI 10.1094/MPMI-10-11-0276

    View details for Web of Science ID 000314003000007

    View details for PubMedID 23013436

  • Smaller, Faster, Brighter: Advances in Optical Imaging of Living Plant Cells ANNUAL REVIEW OF PLANT BIOLOGY, VOL 64 Shaw, S. L., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2013; 64: 351-375


    The advent of fluorescent proteins and access to modern imaging technologies have dramatically accelerated the pace of discovery in plant cell biology. Remarkable new insights into such diverse areas as plant pathogenesis, cytoskeletal dynamics, sugar transport, cell wall synthesis, secretory control, and hormone signaling have come from careful examination of living cells using advanced optical probes. New technologies, both commercially available and on the horizon, promise a continued march toward more quantitative methods for imaging and for extending the optical exploration of biological structure and activity to molecular scales. In this review, we lay out fundamental issues in imaging plant specimens and look ahead to several technological innovations in molecular tools, instrumentation, imaging methods, and specimen handling that show promise for shaping the coming era of plant cell biology.

    View details for DOI 10.1146/annurev-arplant-042110-103843

    View details for Web of Science ID 000321699500015

    View details for PubMedID 23506334

  • The molecular origins of chiral growth in walled cells CURRENT OPINION IN MICROBIOLOGY Huang, K. C., Ehrhardt, D. W., Shaevitz, J. W. 2012; 15 (6): 707-714


    Cells from all kingdoms of life adopt a dizzying array of fascinating shapes that support cellular function. Amoeboid and spherical shapes represent perhaps the simplest of geometries that may minimize the level of growth control required for survival. Slightly more complex are rod-shaped cells, from microscopic bacteria to macroscopic plants, which require additional mechanisms to define a cell's longitudinal axis, width, and length. Recent evidence suggests that many rod-shaped, walled cells achieve elongated growth through chiral insertion of cell-wall material that may be coupled to a twisting of the cell body. Inspired by these observations, biophysical mechanisms for twisting growth have been proposed that link the mechanics of intracellular proteins to cell shape maintenance. In this review, we highlight experimental and theoretical work that connects molecular-scale organization and structure with the cellular-scale phenomena of rod-shaped growth.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.mib.2012.11.002

    View details for Web of Science ID 000313612200012

    View details for PubMedID 23194654

  • Arabidopsis MICROTUBULE DESTABILIZING PROTEIN40 Is Involved in Brassinosteroid Regulation of Hypocotyl Elongation PLANT CELL Wang, X., Zhang, J., Yuan, M., Ehrhardt, D. W., Wang, Z., Mao, T. 2012; 24 (10): 4012-4025


    The brassinosteroid (BR) phytohormones play crucial roles in regulating plant cell growth and morphogenesis, particularly in hypocotyl cell elongation. The microtubule cytoskeleton is also known to participate in the regulation of hypocotyl elongation. However, it is unclear if BR regulation of hypocotyl elongation involves the microtubule cytoskeleton. In this study, we demonstrate that BRs mediate hypocotyl cell elongation by influencing the orientation and stability of cortical microtubules. Further analysis identified the previously undiscovered Arabidopsis thaliana microtubule destabilizing protein40 (MDP40) as a positive regulator of hypocotyl cell elongation. Brassinazole-resistant1, a key transcription factor in the BR signaling pathway, directly targets and upregulates MDP40. Overexpression of MDP40 partially rescued the shorter hypocotyl phenotype in BR-deficient mutant de-etiolated-2 seedlings. Reorientation of the cortical microtubules in the cells of MDP40 RNA interference transgenic lines was less sensitive to BR. These findings demonstrate that MDP40 is a key regulator in BR regulation of cortical microtubule reorientation and mediates hypocotyl growth. This study reveals a mechanism involving BR regulation of microtubules through MDP40 to mediate hypocotyl cell elongation.

    View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.112.103838

    View details for Web of Science ID 000312378300013

    View details for PubMedID 23115248

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3517233

  • Time-lapse Fluorescence Imaging of Arabidopsis Root Growth with Rapid Manipulation of The Root Environment Using The RootChip JOVE-JOURNAL OF VISUALIZED EXPERIMENTS Grossmann, G., Meier, M., Cartwright, H. N., Sosso, D., Quake, S. R., Ehrhardt, D. W., Frommer, W. B. 2012


    The root functions as the physical anchor of the plant and is the organ responsible for uptake of water and mineral nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfate and trace elements that plants acquire from the soil. If we want to develop sustainable approaches to producing high crop yield, we need to better understand how the root develops, takes up a wide spectrum of nutrients, and interacts with symbiotic and pathogenic organisms. To accomplish these goals, we need to be able to explore roots in microscopic detail over time periods ranging from minutes to days. We developed the RootChip, a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)- based microfluidic device, which allows us to grow and image roots from Arabidopsis seedlings while avoiding any physical stress to roots during preparation for imaging(1) (Figure 1). The device contains a bifurcated channel structure featuring micromechanical valves to guide the fluid flow from solution inlets to each of the eight observation chambers(2). This perfusion system allows the root microenvironment to be controlled and modified with precision and speed. The volume of the chambers is approximately 400 nl, thus requiring only minimal amounts of test solution. Here we provide a detailed protocol for studying root biology on the RootChip using imaging-based approaches with real time resolution. Roots can be analyzed over several days using time lapse microscopy. Roots can be perfused with nutrient solutions or inhibitors, and up to eight seedlings can be analyzed in parallel. This system has the potential for a wide range of applications, including analysis of root growth in the presence or absence of chemicals, fluorescence-based analysis of gene expression, and the analysis of biosensors, e.g. FRET nanosensors(3).

    View details for DOI 10.3791/4290

    View details for Web of Science ID 000209223200051

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3471268

  • Arabidopsis GCP3-interacting protein 1/MOZART 1 is an integral component of the gamma-tubulin-containing microtubule nucleating complex PLANT JOURNAL Nakamura, M., Yagi, N., Kato, T., Fujita, S., Kawashima, N., Ehrhardt, D. W., Hashimoto, T. 2012; 71 (2): 216-225


    Microtubules in eukaryotic cells are nucleated from ring-shaped complexes that contain γ-tubulin and a family of homologous γ-tubulin complex proteins (GCPs), but the subunit composition of the complexes can vary among fungi, animals and plants. Arabidopsis GCP3-interacting protein 1 (GIP1), a small protein with no homology to the GCP family, interacts with GCP3 in vitro, and is a plant homolog of vertebrate mitotic-spindle organizing protein associated with a ring of γ-tubulin 1 (MOZART1), a recently identified component of the γ-tubulin complex in human cell lines. In this study, we characterized two closely related Arabidopsis GIP1s: GIP1a and GIP1b. Single mutants of gip1a and gip1b were indistinguishable from wild-type plants, but their double mutant was embryonic lethal, and showed impaired development of male gametophytes. Functional fusions of GIP1a with green fluorescent protein (GFP) were used to purify GIP1a-containing complexes from Arabidopsis plants, which contained all the subunits (except NEDD1) previously identified in the Arabidopsis γ-tubulin complexes. GIP1a and GIP1b interacted specifically with Arabidopsis GCP3 in yeast. GFP-GIP1a labeled mitotic microtubule arrays in a pattern largely consistent with, but partly distinct from, the localization of the γ-tubulin complex containing GCP2 or GCP3 in planta. In interphase cortical arrays, the labeled complexes were preferentially recruited to existing microtubules, from which new microtubules were efficiently nucleated. However, in contrast to complexes labeled with tagged GCP2 or GCP3, their recruitment to cortical areas with no microtubules was rarely observed. These results indicate that GIP1/MOZART1 is an integral component of a subset of the Arabidopsis γ-tubulin complexes.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2012.04988.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000306893400004

    View details for PubMedID 22404201

  • A never ending race for new and improved fluorescent proteins BMC BIOLOGY Jones, A. M., Ehrhardt, D. W., Frommer, W. B. 2012; 10


    Bioluminescent and fluorescent proteins are now used as tools for research in all organisms. There has been massive progress over the past 15 years in creating a palette of fluorescent proteins with a wide spectrum of specific properties. One of the big challenges is to decide which variant may be best for a certain application. A recent article by Mann et al. in BMC Biotechnology describes a new orange fluorescent protein in plants.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/1741-7007-10-39

    View details for Web of Science ID 000303598000001

    View details for PubMedID 22554191

  • Microtubules Are Essential for Guard-Cell Function in Vicia and Arabidopsis MOLECULAR PLANT Eisinger, W., Ehrhardt, D., Briggs, W. 2012; 5 (3): 601-610


    Radially arranged cortical microtubules are a prominent feature of guard cells. Guard cells expressing GFP-tubulin showed consistent changes in the appearance of microtubules when stomata opened or closed. Guard cells showed fewer microtubule structures as stomata closed, whether induced by transfer to darkness, ABA, hydrogen peroxide, or sodium hydrogen carbonate. Guard cells kept in the dark (closed stomata) showed increases in microtubule structures and stomatal aperture on light treatment. GFP-EB1, marking microtubule growing plus ends, showed no change in number of plus ends or velocity of assembly on stomatal closure. Since the number of growing plus ends and the rate of plus-end growth did not change when microtubule structure numbers declined, microtubule instability and/or rearrangement must be responsible for the apparent loss of microtubules. Guard cells with closed stomata showed more cytosolic GFP-fluorescence than those with open stomata as cortical microtubules became disassembled, although with a large net loss in total fluorescence. Microtubule-targeted drugs blocked guard-cell function in Vicia and Arabidopsis. Oryzalin disrupted guard-cell microtubules and prevented stomatal opening and taxol stabilized guard-cell microtubules and delayed stomatal closure. Gas exchange measurements indicated that the transgenes for fluorescent-labeled proteins did not disrupt normal stomatal function. These dynamic changes in guard-cell microtubules combined with our inhibitor studies provide evidence for an active role of microtubules in guard-cell function.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/mp/sss002

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304890600009

    View details for PubMedID 22402260

  • Quantitative Changes in Microtubule Distribution Correlate with Guard Cell Function in Arabidopsis MOLECULAR PLANT Eisinger, W. R., Kirik, V., Lewis, C., Ehrhardt, D. W., Briggs, W. R. 2012; 5 (3): 716-725


    Radially arranged cortical microtubules are a prominent feature of guard cells. We observed guard cells expressing GFP-tubulin (GFP-TUA6) with confocal microscopy and found recognizable changes in the appearance of microtubules when stomata open or close (Eisinger et al., 2012). In the present study, analysis of fluorescence distribution showed a dramatic increase in peak intensities of microtubule bundles within guard cells as stomata open. This increase was correlated with an increase in the total fluorescence that could be attributed to polymerized tubulin. Adjacent pavement cells did not show similar changes in peak intensities or integrated fluorescence when stomatal apertures changed. Imaging of RFP-tagged end binding protein 1 (EB1) and YFP-tagged α-tubulin expressed in the same cell revealed that the number of microtubules with growing ends remained constant, although the total amount of polymerized tubulin was higher in open than in closed guard cells. Taken together, these results indicate that the changes in microtubule array organization that are correlated with and required for normal guard cell function are characterized by changes in microtubule clustering or bundling.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/mp/sss033

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304890600019

    View details for PubMedID 22492121

  • Cellulose microfibril crystallinity is reduced by mutating C-terminal transmembrane region residues CESA1(A903V) and CESA3(T942I) of cellulose synthase PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Harris, D. M., Corbin, K., Wang, T., Gutierrez, R., Bertolo, A. L., Petti, C., Smilgies, D., Manuel Estevez, J., Bonetta, D., Urbanowicz, B. R., Ehrhardt, D. W., Somerville, C. R., Rose, J. K., Hong, M., DeBolt, S. 2012; 109 (11): 4098-4103


    The mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis of cellulose in plants are complex and still poorly understood. A central question concerns the mechanism of microfibril structure and how this is linked to the catalytic polymerization action of cellulose synthase (CESA). Furthermore, it remains unclear whether modification of cellulose microfibril structure can be achieved genetically, which could be transformative in a bio-based economy. To explore these processes in planta, we developed a chemical genetic toolbox of pharmacological inhibitors and corresponding resistance-conferring point mutations in the C-terminal transmembrane domain region of CESA1(A903V) and CESA3(T942I) in Arabidopsis thaliana. Using (13)C solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, we show that the cellulose microfibrils displayed reduced width and an additional cellulose C4 peak indicative of a degree of crystallinity that is intermediate between the surface and interior glucans of wild type, suggesting a difference in glucan chain association during microfibril formation. Consistent with measurements of lower microfibril crystallinity, cellulose extracts from mutated CESA1(A903V) and CESA3(T942I) displayed greater saccharification efficiency than wild type. Using live-cell imaging to track fluorescently labeled CESA, we found that these mutants show increased CESA velocities in the plasma membrane, an indication of increased polymerization rate. Collectively, these data suggest that CESA1(A903V) and CESA3(T942I) have modified microfibril structure in terms of crystallinity and suggest that in plants, as in bacteria, crystallization biophysically limits polymerization.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1200352109

    View details for Web of Science ID 000301426700022

    View details for PubMedID 22375033

  • TONNEAU2/FASS Regulates the Geometry of Microtubule Nucleation and Cortical Array Organization in Interphase Arabidopsis Cells PLANT CELL Kirik, A., Ehrhardt, D. W., Kirik, V. 2012; 24 (3): 1158-1170


    Organization of microtubules into ordered arrays involves spatial and temporal regulation of microtubule nucleation. Here, we show that acentrosomal microtubule nucleation in plant cells involves a previously unknown regulatory step that determines the geometry of microtubule nucleation. Dynamic imaging of interphase cortical microtubules revealed that the ratio of branching to in-bundle microtubule nucleation on cortical microtubules is regulated by the Arabidopsis thaliana B'' subunit of protein phosphatase 2A, which is encoded by the TONNEAU2/FASS (TON2) gene. The probability of nucleation from γ-tubulin complexes localized at the cell cortex was not affected by a loss of TON2 function, suggesting a specific role of TON2 in regulating the nucleation geometry. Both loss of TON2 function and ectopic targeting of TON2 to the plasma membrane resulted in defects in cell shape, suggesting the importance of TON2-mediated regulation of the microtubule cytoskeleton in cell morphogenesis. Loss of TON2 function also resulted in an inability for cortical arrays to reorient in response to light stimulus, suggesting an essential role for TON2 and microtubule branching nucleation in reorganization of microtubule arrays. Our data establish TON2 as a regulator of interphase microtubule nucleation and provide experimental evidence for a novel regulatory step in the process of microtubule-dependent nucleation.

    View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.111.094367

    View details for Web of Science ID 000303763000023

    View details for PubMedID 22395485

  • New Technologies for 21st Century Plant Science PLANT CELL Ehrhardt, D. W., Frommer, W. B. 2012; 24 (2): 374-394


    Plants are one of the most fascinating and important groups of organisms living on Earth. They serve as the conduit of energy into the biosphere, provide food, and shape our environment. If we want to make headway in understanding how these essential organisms function and build the foundation for a more sustainable future, then we need to apply the most advanced technologies available to the study of plant life. In 2009, a committee of the National Academy highlighted the "understanding of plant growth" as one of the big challenges for society and part of a new era which they termed "new biology." The aim of this article is to identify how new technologies can and will transform plant science to address the challenges of new biology. We assess where we stand today regarding current technologies, with an emphasis on molecular and imaging technologies, and we try to address questions about where we may go in the future and whether we can get an idea of what is at and beyond the horizon.

    View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.111.093302

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302131000004

    View details for PubMedID 22366161

  • Time-lapse fluorescence imaging of Arabidopsis root growth with rapid manipulation of the root environment using the RootChip. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE Grossmann, G., Meier, M., Cartwright, H. N., Sosso, D., Quake, S. R., Ehrhardt, D. W., Frommer, W. B. 2012


    The root functions as the physical anchor of the plant and is the organ responsible for uptake of water and mineral nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfate and trace elements that plants acquire from the soil. If we want to develop sustainable approaches to producing high crop yield, we need to better understand how the root develops, takes up a wide spectrum of nutrients, and interacts with symbiotic and pathogenic organisms. To accomplish these goals, we need to be able to explore roots in microscopic detail over time periods ranging from minutes to days. We developed the RootChip, a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)- based microfluidic device, which allows us to grow and image roots from Arabidopsis seedlings while avoiding any physical stress to roots during preparation for imaging(1) (Figure 1). The device contains a bifurcated channel structure featuring micromechanical valves to guide the fluid flow from solution inlets to each of the eight observation chambers(2). This perfusion system allows the root microenvironment to be controlled and modified with precision and speed. The volume of the chambers is approximately 400 nl, thus requiring only minimal amounts of test solution. Here we provide a detailed protocol for studying root biology on the RootChip using imaging-based approaches with real time resolution. Roots can be analyzed over several days using time lapse microscopy. Roots can be perfused with nutrient solutions or inhibitors, and up to eight seedlings can be analyzed in parallel. This system has the potential for a wide range of applications, including analysis of root growth in the presence or absence of chemicals, fluorescence-based analysis of gene expression, and the analysis of biosensors, e.g. FRET nanosensors(3).

    View details for DOI 10.3791/4290

    View details for PubMedID 22805296

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3471268

  • The RootChip: An Integrated Microfluidic Chip for Plant Science PLANT CELL Grossmann, G., Guo, W., Ehrhardt, D. W., Frommer, W. B., Sit, R. V., Quake, S. R., Meier, M. 2011; 23 (12): 4234-4240


    Studying development and physiology of growing roots is challenging due to limitations regarding cellular and subcellular analysis under controlled environmental conditions. We describe a microfluidic chip platform, called RootChip, that integrates live-cell imaging of growth and metabolism of Arabidopsis thaliana roots with rapid modulation of environmental conditions. The RootChip has separate chambers for individual regulation of the microenvironment of multiple roots from multiple seedlings in parallel. We demonstrate the utility of The RootChip by monitoring time-resolved growth and cytosolic sugar levels at subcellular resolution in plants by a genetically encoded fluorescence sensor for glucose and galactose. The RootChip can be modified for use with roots from other plant species by adapting the chamber geometry and facilitates the systematic analysis of root growth and metabolism from multiple seedlings, paving the way for large-scale phenotyping of root metabolism and signaling.

    View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.111.092577

    View details for Web of Science ID 000299677700010

    View details for PubMedID 22186371

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3269862

  • Symbiotic Rhizobia Bacteria Trigger a Change in Localization and Dynamics of the Medicago truncatula Receptor Kinase LYK3 PLANT CELL Haney, C. H., Riely, B. K., Tricoli, D. M., Cook, D. R., Ehrhardt, D. W., Long, S. R. 2011; 23 (7): 2774-2787


    To form nitrogen-fixing symbioses, legume plants recognize a bacterial signal, Nod Factor (NF). The legume Medicago truncatula has two predicted NF receptors that direct separate downstream responses to its symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti. NOD FACTOR PERCEPTION encodes a putative low-stringency receptor that is responsible for calcium spiking and transcriptional responses. LYSIN MOTIF RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASE3 (LYK3) encodes a putative high-stringency receptor that mediates bacterial infection. We localized green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged LYK3 in M. truncatula and found that it has a punctate distribution at the cell periphery consistent with a plasma membrane or membrane-tethered vesicle localization. In buffer-treated control roots, LYK3:GFP puncta are dynamic. After inoculation with compatible S. meliloti, LYK3:GFP puncta are relatively stable. We show that increased LYK3:GFP stability depends on bacterial NF and NF structure but that NF is not sufficient for the change in LYK3:GFP dynamics. In uninoculated root hairs, LYK3:GFP has little codistribution with mCherry-tagged FLOTILLIN4 (FLOT4), another punctate plasma membrane-associated protein required for infection. In inoculated root hairs, we observed an increase in FLOT4:mCherry and LYK3:GFP colocalization; both proteins localize to positionally stable puncta. We also demonstrate that the localization of tagged FLOT4 is altered in plants carrying a mutation that inactivates the kinase domain of LYK3. Our work indicates that LYK3 protein localization and dynamics are altered in response to symbiotic bacteria.

    View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.111.086389

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294164300027

    View details for PubMedID 21742993

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3226205

  • Live Cell Imaging Reveals Structural Associations between the Actin and Microtubule Cytoskeleton in Arabidopsis PLANT CELL Sampathkumar, A., Lindeboom, J. J., Debolt, S., Gutierrez, R., Ehrhardt, D. W., Ketelaar, T., Persson, S. 2011; 23 (6): 2302-2313


    In eukaryotic cells, the actin and microtubule (MT) cytoskeletal networks are dynamic structures that organize intracellular processes and facilitate their rapid reorganization. In plant cells, actin filaments (AFs) and MTs are essential for cell growth and morphogenesis. However, dynamic interactions between these two essential components in live cells have not been explored. Here, we use spinning-disc confocal microscopy to dissect interaction and cooperation between cortical AFs and MTs in Arabidopsis thaliana, utilizing fluorescent reporter constructs for both components. Quantitative analyses revealed altered AF dynamics associated with the positions and orientations of cortical MTs. Reorganization and reassembly of the AF array was dependent on the MTs following drug-induced depolymerization, whereby short AFs initially appeared colocalized with MTs, and displayed motility along MTs. We also observed that light-induced reorganization of MTs occurred in concert with changes in AF behavior. Our results indicate dynamic interaction between the cortical actin and MT cytoskeletons in interphase plant cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.111.087940

    View details for Web of Science ID 000293224200022

    View details for PubMedID 21693695

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3160026

  • Microtubule and katanin-dependent dynamics of microtubule nucleation complexes in the acentrosomal Arabidopsis cortical array NATURE CELL BIOLOGY Nakamura, M., Ehrhardt, D. W., Hashimoto, T. 2010; 12 (11): 1064-U49


    Microtubule nucleation in interphase plant cells primarily occurs through branching from pre-existing microtubules at dispersed sites in the cell cortex. The minus ends of new microtubules are often released from the sites of nucleation, and the free microtubules are then transported to new locations by polymer treadmilling. These nucleation-and-release events are characteristic features of plant arrays in interphase cells, but little is known about the spatiotemporal control of these events by nucleating protein complexes. We visualized the dynamics of two fluorescently-tagged γ-tubulin complex proteins, GCP2 and GCP3, in Arabidopsis thaliana. These probes labelled motile complexes in the cytosol that transiently stabilized at fixed locations in the cell cortex. Recruitment of labelled complexes occurred preferentially along existing cortical microtubules, from which new microtubule was synthesized in a branching manner, or in parallel to the existing microtubule. Complexes localized to microtubules were approximately 10-fold more likely to display nucleation than were complexes recruited to other locations. Nucleating complexes remained stable until daughter microtubules were either completely depolymerized from their plus ends or released by katanin-dependent severing activity. These observations suggest that the nucleation complexes are primarily activated on association with microtubule lattices, and that nucleation complex stability depends on association with daughter microtubules and is regulated in part by katanin activity.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ncb2110

    View details for Web of Science ID 000283711500009

    View details for PubMedID 20935636

  • Mutations of cellulose synthase (CESA1) phosphorylation sites modulate anisotropic cell expansion and bidirectional mobility of cellulose synthase PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Chen, S., Ehrhardt, D. W., Somerville, C. R. 2010; 107 (40): 17188-17193


    The CESA1 component of cellulose synthase is phosphorylated at sites clustered in two hypervariable regions of the protein. Mutations of the phosphorylated residues to Ala (A) or Glu (E) alter anisotropic cell expansion and cellulose synthesis in rapidly expanding roots and hypocotyls. Expression of T166E, S686E, or S688E mutants of CESA1 fully rescued the temperature sensitive cesA1-1 allele (rsw1) at a restrictive temperature whereas mutations to A at these positions caused defects in anisotropic cell expansion. However, mutations to E at residues surrounding T166 (i.e., S162, T165, and S167) caused opposite effects. Live-cell imaging of fluorescently labeled CESA showed close correlations between tissue or cell morphology and patterns of bidirectional motility of CESA complexes in the plasma membrane. In the WT, CESA complexes moved at similar velocities in both directions along microtubule tracks. By contrast, the rate of movement of CESA particles was directionally asymmetric in mutant lines that exhibited abnormal tissue or cell expansion, and the asymmetry was removed upon depolymerizing microtubules with oryzalin. This suggests that phosphorylation of CESA differentially affects a polar interaction with microtubules that may regulate the length or quantity of a subset of cellulose microfibrils and that this, in turn, alters microfibril structure in the primary cell wall resulting in or contributing to the observed defect in anisotropic cell expansion.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1012348107

    View details for Web of Science ID 000282512000027

    View details for PubMedID 20855602

  • Opportunities to Explore Plant Membrane Organization with Super-Resolution Microscopy PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Gutierrez, R., Grossmann, G., Frommer, W. B., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2010; 154 (2): 463-466

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.110.161703

    View details for Web of Science ID 000282512300008

    View details for PubMedID 20921164

  • Arabidopsis cortical microtubules position cellulose synthase delivery to the plasma membrane and interact with cellulose synthase trafficking compartments NATURE CELL BIOLOGY Gutierrez, R., Lindeboom, J. J., Paredez, A. R., Emons, A. M., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2009; 11 (7): 797-U43


    Plant cell morphogenesis relies on the organization and function of two polymer arrays separated by the plasma membrane: the cortical microtubule cytoskeleton and cellulose microfibrils in the cell wall. Studies using in vivo markers confirmed that one function of the cortical microtubule array is to drive organization of cellulose microfibrils by guiding the trajectories of active cellulose synthase (CESA) complexes in the plasma membrane, thus orienting nascent microfibrils. Here we provide evidence that cortical microtubules also position the delivery of CESA complexes to the plasma membrane and interact with small CESA-containing compartments by a mechanism that permits motility driven by microtubule depolymerization. The association of CESA compartments with cortical microtubules was greatly enhanced during osmotic stress and other treatments that limit cellulose synthesis. On recovery from osmotic stress, delivery of CESA complexes to the plasma membrane was observed in association with microtubule-tethered compartments. These results reveal multiple functions for the microtubule cortical array in organizing CESA in the cell cortex.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ncb1886

    View details for Web of Science ID 000267603100007

    View details for PubMedID 19525940

  • Cell biology CURRENT OPINION IN PLANT BIOLOGY Ehrhardt, D., Brandizzi, F. 2008; 11 (6): 575-576
  • Genetic evidence that cellulose synthase activity influences microtubule cortical array organization PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Paredez, A. R., Persson, S., Ehrhardt, D. W., Somerville, C. R. 2008; 147 (4): 1723-1734


    To identify factors that influence cytoskeletal organization we screened for Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) mutants that show hypersensitivity to the microtubule destabilizing drug oryzalin. We cloned the genes corresponding to two of the 131 mutant lines obtained. The genes encoded mutant alleles of PROCUSTE1 and KORRIGAN, which both encode proteins that have previously been implicated in cellulose synthesis. Analysis of microtubules in the mutants revealed that both mutants have altered orientation of root cortical microtubules. Similarly, isoxaben, an inhibitor of cellulose synthesis, also altered the orientation of cortical microtubules while exogenous cellulose degradation did not. Thus, our results substantiate that proteins involved in cell wall biosynthesis influence cytoskeletal organization and indicate that this influence on cortical microtubule stability and orientation is correlated with cellulose synthesis rather than the integrity of the cell wall.

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.108.120196

    View details for Web of Science ID 000258184800025

    View details for PubMedID 18583534

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2492609

  • Straighten up and fly right-microtubule dynamics and organization of non-centrosomal arrays in higher plants CURRENT OPINION IN CELL BIOLOGY Ehrhardt, D. W. 2008; 20 (1): 107-116


    Live cell imaging and genetic studies are demonstrating that cortical microtubule arrays in plant cells are dynamic structures in which microtubule (MT) bundles play a key role in creating array organization and function. Steps important for creating and organizing these arrays include recruitment of nucleation complexes to the cell cortex and to the lattices of previously established MTs, association of newly created MTs to the cell cortex, release of MTs from sites of nucleation, transport of released MTs by polymer treadmilling, and subsequent interactions between treadmilling MTs. The results of MT interactions include induced catastrophe, severing, and the capture and reorientation of growing polymer ends by bundling interactions. Together, these properties predict a capacity for self-ordering that is likely to play an important role in establishing the parallel organization of the arrays.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/

    View details for Web of Science ID 000253545200016

    View details for PubMedID 18243678

  • Molecular and cellular approaches for the detection of protein-protein interactions: latest techniques and current limitations PLANT JOURNAL Lalonde, S., Ehrhardt, D. W., Loque, D., Chen, J., Rhee, S. Y., Frommer, W. B. 2008; 53 (4): 610-635


    Homotypic and heterotypic protein interactions are crucial for all levels of cellular function, including architecture, regulation, metabolism, and signaling. Therefore, protein interaction maps represent essential components of post-genomic toolkits needed for understanding biological processes at a systems level. Over the past decade, a wide variety of methods have been developed to detect, analyze, and quantify protein interactions, including surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, NMR, yeast two-hybrid screens, peptide tagging combined with mass spectrometry and fluorescence-based technologies. Fluorescence techniques range from co-localization of tags, which may be limited by the optical resolution of the microscope, to fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based methods that have molecular resolution and can also report on the dynamics and localization of the interactions within a cell. Proteins interact via highly evolved complementary surfaces with affinities that can vary over many orders of magnitude. Some of the techniques described in this review, such as surface plasmon resonance, provide detailed information on physical properties of these interactions, while others, such as two-hybrid techniques and mass spectrometry, are amenable to high-throughput analysis using robotics. In addition to providing an overview of these methods, this review emphasizes techniques that can be applied to determine interactions involving membrane proteins, including the split ubiquitin system and fluorescence-based technologies for characterizing hits obtained with high-throughput approaches. Mass spectrometry-based methods are covered by a review by Miernyk and Thelen (2008; this issue, pp. 597-609). In addition, we discuss the use of interaction data to construct interaction networks and as the basis for the exciting possibility of using to predict interaction surfaces.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2007.03332.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000252931800002

    View details for PubMedID 18269572

  • The GRV2/RME-8 protein of Arabidopsis functions in the late endocytic pathway and is required for vacuolar membrane flow PLANT JOURNAL Silady, R. A., Ehrhardt, D. W., Jackson, K., Faulkner, C., Oparka, K., Somerville, C. R. 2008; 53 (1): 29-41


    The gravitropism defective 2 (grv2) mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana were previously characterized as exhibiting shoot agravitropism resulting from mutations in a homolog of the Caenorhabditis elegans RECEPTOR-MEDIATED ENDOCYTOSIS-8 (RME-8) gene, which is required in C. elegans for endocytosis. A fluorescent protein fusion to the GRV2 protein localized to endosomes in transgenic plants, and vacuolar morphology was altered in grv2 mutants. A defect in vacuolar membrane dynamics provides a mechanistic explanation for the gravitropic defect, and may also account for the presence of an enlarged vacuole in early embryos, together with a nutrient requirement during seedling establishment. The GRV2-positive endosomes were sensitive to Wortmannin but not brefeldin A (BFA), consistent with GRV2 operating late in the endocytic pathway, prior to delivery of vesicles to the central vacuole. The specific enlargement of GRV2:YFP structures by Wortmannin, together with biochemical data showing that GRV2 co-fractionates with pre-vacuolar markers such as PEP12/SYP21, leads us to conclude that in plants GRV2/RME-8 functions in vesicle trafficking from the multivesicular body/pre-vacuolar compartment to the lytic vacuole.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2007.03314.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000252109300003

    View details for PubMedID 17971043

  • The subcellular localization and blue-light-induced movement of phototropin 1-GFP in etiolated seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana(W) MOLECULAR PLANT Wan, Y., Eisinger, W., Ehrhardt, D., Kubitscheck, U., Baluska, F., Briggs, W. 2008; 1 (1): 103-117


    Phototropin 1 (phot1) is a photoreceptor for phototropism, chloroplast movement, stomatal opening, leaf expansion, and solar tracking in response to blue light. Following earlier work with PHOT1::GFP (Sakamoto and Briggs, 2002), we investigated the pattern of cellular and subcellular localization of phot1 in 3- 4-d-old etiolated seedlings of Arabidopsis thalinana. As expressed from native upstream sequences, the PHOT1::GFP fusion protein is expressed strongly in the abaxial tissues of the cotyledons and in the elongating regions of the hypocotyl. It is moderately expressed in the shoot/root transition zone and in cells near the root apex. A fluorescence signal is undetectable in the root epidermis, root cap, and root apical meristem itself. The plasma membranes of mesophyll cells near the cotyledon margin appear labeled uniformly but cross-walls created by recent cell divisions are more strongly labeled. The pattern of labeling of individual cell types varies with cell type and developmental stage. Blue-light treatment causes PHOT1::GFP, initially relatively evenly distributed at the plasma membrane, to become reorganized into a distinct mosaic with strongly labeled punctate areas and other areas completely devoid of fluorescence--a phenomenon best observed in cortical cells in the hypocotyl elongation region. Concomitant with or following this reorganization, PHOT1::GFP moves into the cytoplasm in all cell types investigated except for guard cells. It disappears from the cytoplasm by an unidentified mechanism after several hours in darkness. Neither its appearance in the cytoplasm nor its eventual disappearance in darkness is prevented by the translation inhibitor cycloheximide, although the latter process is retarded. We hypothesize that blue-light-induced phot1 re-localization modulates blue-light-activated signal transduction.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/mp/ssm011

    View details for Web of Science ID 000259068900011

    View details for PubMedID 20031918

  • CLASP localizes in two discrete patterns on cortical microtubules and is required for cell morphogenesis and cell division in Arabidopsis JOURNAL OF CELL SCIENCE Kirik, V., Herrmann, U., Parupalli, C., Sedbrook, J. C., Ehrhardt, D. W., Huelskamp, M. 2007; 120 (24): 4416-4425


    In animals and yeast, CLASP proteins are microtubule plus-end tracking proteins (+TIPS) involved in the regulation of microtubule plus-end dynamics and stabilization. Here we show that mutations in the Arabidopsis CLASP homolog result in various plant growth reductions, cell form defects and reduced mitotic activity. Analysis of Arabidopsis plants that carry a YFP:AtCLASP fusion construct regulated by the AtCLASP native promoter showed similarities to the described localization of the animal CLASP proteins, but also prominent differences including punctate and preferential localization along cortical microtubules. Colocalization studies of YFP:AtCLASP and CFP:EB1b also showed that AtCLASP is enriched at the plus ends of microtubules where it localizes behind the AtEB1b protein. Moreover, AtCLASP overexpression causes abnormal cortical microtubule bundling and array organization. Cortical microtubule arrays have evolved to be prominent in plants, and our findings suggest that plant CLASP proteins may have adopted specific functions in regulating cortical microtubule properties and cell growth.

    View details for DOI 10.1242/jcs.024950

    View details for Web of Science ID 000252243300019

    View details for PubMedID 18042620

  • Arabidopsis TANGLED identifies the division plane throughout mitosis and cytokinesis CURRENT BIOLOGY Walker, K. L., Mueller, S., Moss, D., Ehrhardt, D. W., Smith, L. G. 2007; 17 (21): 1827-1836


    In premitotic plant cells, the future division plane is predicted by a cortical ring of microtubules and F-actin called the preprophase band (PPB). The PPB persists throughout prophase, but is disassembled upon nuclear-envelope breakdown as the mitotic spindle forms. Following nuclear division, a cytokinetic phragmoplast forms between the daughter nuclei and expands laterally to attach the new cell wall at the former PPB site. A variety of observations suggest that expanding phragmoplasts are actively guided to the former PPB site, but little is known about how plant cells "remember" this site after PPB disassembly.In premitotic plant cells, Arabidopsis TANGLED fused to YFP (AtTAN::YFP) colocalizes at the future division plane with PPBs. Strikingly, cortical AtTAN::YFP rings persist after PPB disassembly, marking the division plane throughout mitosis and cytokinesis. The AtTAN::YFP ring is relatively broad during preprophase/prophase and mitosis; narrows to become a sharper, more punctate ring during cytokinesis; and then rapidly disassembles upon completion of cytokinesis. The initial recruitment of AtTAN::YFP to the division plane requires microtubules and the kinesins POK1 and POK2, but subsequent maintenance of AtTAN::YFP rings appears to be microtubule independent. Consistent with the localization data, analysis of Arabidopsis tan mutants shows that AtTAN plays a role in guidance of expanding phragmoplasts to the former PPB site.AtTAN is implicated as a component of a cortical guidance cue that remains behind when the PPB is disassembled and directs the expanding phragmoplast to the former PPB site during cytokinesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2007.09.063

    View details for Web of Science ID 000250768800020

    View details for PubMedID 17964159

  • Nonmotile cellulose synthase subunits repeatedly accumulate within localized regions at the plasma membrane in Arabidopsis hypocotyl cells following 2,6-dichlorobenzonitrile treatment PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Debolt, S., Gutierrez, R., Ehrhardt, D. W., Somerville, C. 2007; 145 (2): 334-338

    View details for Web of Science ID 000249893600005

    View details for PubMedID 17911650

  • An essential role for 14-3-3 proteins in brassinosteroid signal transduction in Arabidopsis DEVELOPMENTAL CELL Gampala, S. S., Kim, T., He, J., Tang, W., Deng, Z., Bai, M., Guan, S., Lalonde, S., Sun, Y., Gendron, J. M., Chen, H., Shibagaki, N., Ferl, R. J., Ehrhardt, D., Chong, K., Burlingame, A. L., Wang, Z. 2007; 13 (2): 177-189


    Brassinosteroids (BRs) are essential hormones for plant growth and development. BRs regulate gene expression by inducing dephosphorylation of two key transcription factors, BZR1 and BZR2/BES1, through a signal transduction pathway that involves cell-surface receptors (BRI1 and BAK1) and a GSK3 kinase (BIN2). How BR-regulated phosphorylation controls the activities of BZR1/BZR2 is not fully understood. Here, we show that BIN2-catalyzed phosphorylation of BZR1/BZR2 not only inhibits DNA binding, but also promotes binding to the 14-3-3 proteins. Mutations of a BIN2-phosphorylation site in BZR1 abolish 14-3-3 binding and lead to increased nuclear localization of BZR1 protein and enhanced BR responses in transgenic plants. Further, BR deficiency increases cytoplasmic localization, and BR treatment induces rapid nuclear localization of BZR1/BZR2. Thus, 14-3-3 binding is required for efficient inhibition of phosphorylated BR transcription factors, largely through cytoplasmic retention. This study demonstrates that multiple mechanisms are required for BR regulation of gene expression and plant growth.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.devcel.2007.06.009

    View details for Web of Science ID 000248664300006

    View details for PubMedID 17681130

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2000337

  • Morlin, an inhibitor of cortical microtubule dynamics and cellulose synthase movement PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Debolt, S., Gutierrez, R., Ehrhardt, D. W., Melo, C. V., Ross, L., Cutler, S. R., Somerville, C., Bonetta, D. 2007; 104 (14): 5854-5859


    Morlin (7-ethoxy-4-methyl chromen-2-one) was discovered in a screen of 20,000 compounds for small molecules that cause altered cell morphology resulting in swollen root phenotype in Arabidopsis. Live-cell imaging of fluorescently labeled cellulose synthase (CESA) and microtubules showed that morlin acts on the cortical microtubules and alters the movement of CESA. Morlin caused a novel syndrome of cytoskeletal defects, characterized by cortical array reorientation and compromised rates of both microtubule elongation and shrinking. Formation of shorter and more bundled microtubules and detachment from the cell membrane resulted when GFP::MAP4-MBP was used to visualize microtubules during morlin treatment. Cytoskeletal effects were accompanied by a reduction in the velocity and redistribution of CESA complexes labeled with YFP::CESA6 at the cell cortex. Morlin caused no inhibition of mouse myoblast, bacterial or fungal cell proliferation at concentrations that inhibit plant cell growth. By contrast, morlin stimulated microtubule disassembly in cultured hippocampal neurons but had no significant effect on cell viability. Thus, morlin appears to be a useful new probe of the mechanisms that regulate microtubule cortical array organization and its functional interaction with CESA.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0700789104

    View details for Web of Science ID 000245657600029

    View details for PubMedID 17389408

  • Microtubule cortical array organization and plant cell morphogenesis CURRENT OPINION IN PLANT BIOLOGY Paradez, A., Wright, A., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2006; 9 (6): 571-578


    Plant cell cortical microtubule arrays attain a high degree of order without the benefit of an organizing center such as a centrosome. New assays for molecular behaviors in living cells and gene discovery are yielding insight into the mechanisms by which acentrosomal microtubule arrays are created and organized, and how microtubule organization functions to modify cell form by regulating cellulose deposition. Surprising and potentially important behaviors of cortical microtubules include nucleation from the walls of established microtubules, and treadmilling-driven motility leading to polymer interaction, reorientation, and microtubule bundling. These behaviors suggest activities that can act to increase or decrease the local level of order in the array. The SPIRAL1 (SPR1) and SPR2 microtubule-localized proteins and the radial swollen 6 (rsw-6) locus are examples of new molecules and genes that affect both microtubule array organization and cell growth pattern. Functional tagging of cellulose synthase has now allowed the dynamic relationship between cortical microtubules and the cell-wall-synthesizing machinery to be visualized, providing direct evidence that cortical microtubules can organize cellulose synthase complexes and guide their movement through the plasma membrane as they create the cell wall.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pbi.2006.09.005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000242057800004

    View details for PubMedID 17010658

  • Visualization of cellulose synthase demonstrates functional association with microtubules SCIENCE Paredez, A. R., Somerville, C. R., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2006; 312 (5779): 1491-1495


    Expression of a functional yellow fluorescent protein fusion to cellulose synthase (CESA) in transgenic Arabidopsis plants allowed the process of cellulose deposition to be visualized in living cells. Spinning disk confocal microscopy revealed that CESA complexes in the plasma membrane moved at constant rates in linear tracks that were aligned and were coincident with cortical microtubules. Within each observed linear track, complex movement was bidirectional. Inhibition of microtubule polymerization changed the fine-scale distribution and pattern of moving CESA complexes in the membrane, indicating a relatively direct mechanism for guidance of cellulose deposition by the cytoskeleton.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1126551

    View details for Web of Science ID 000238124100038

    View details for PubMedID 16627697

  • Systematic analysis of Arabidopsis organelles and a protein localization database for facilitating fluorescent tagging of full-length Arabidopsis proteins PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Li, S., Ehrhardt, D. W., Rhee, S. Y. 2006; 141 (2): 527-539


    Cells are organized into a complex network of subcellular compartments that are specialized for various biological functions. Subcellular location is an important attribute of protein function. To facilitate systematic elucidation of protein subcellular location, we analyzed experimentally verified protein localization data of 1,300 Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) proteins. The 1,300 experimentally verified proteins are distributed among 40 different compartments, with most of the proteins localized to four compartments: mitochondria (36%), nucleus (28%), plastid (17%), and cytosol (13.3%). About 19% of the proteins are found in multiple compartments, in which a high proportion (36.4%) is localized to both cytosol and nucleus. Characterization of the overrepresented Gene Ontology molecular functions and biological processes suggests that the Golgi apparatus and peroxisome may play more diverse functions but are involved in more specialized processes than other compartments. To support systematic empirical determination of protein subcellular localization using a technology called fluorescent tagging of full-length proteins, we developed a database and Web application to provide preselected green fluorescent protein insertion position and primer sequences for all Arabidopsis proteins to study their subcellular localization and to store experimentally verified protein localization images, videos, and their annotations of proteins generated using the fluorescent tagging of full-length proteins technology. The database can be searched, browsed, and downloaded using a Web browser at The software can also be downloaded from the same Web site for local installation.

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.106.078881

    View details for Web of Science ID 000238168800028

    View details for PubMedID 16617091

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC1475441

  • Microtubule dynamics and organization in the plant cortical array ANNUAL REVIEW OF PLANT BIOLOGY Ehrhardt, D. W., Shaw, S. L. 2006; 57: 859-875


    Live-cell studies have brought fresh insight into the organizational activities of the plant cortical array. Plant interphase arrays organize in the absence of a discrete microtubule organizing center, having plus and minus ends distributed throughout the cell cortex. Microtubule nucleation occurs at the cell cortex, frequently followed by minus-end detachment from origin sites. Microtubules associate tightly with the cell cortex, resisting lateral and axial translocation. Slow, intermitant loss of dimers from minus ends, coupled with growth-biased dynamic instability at the plus ends, results in the migration of cortically attached microtubules across the cell via polymer treadmilling. Microtubule-microtubule interactions, a direct consequence of treadmilling, result in polymer reorientation and creation of polymer bundles. The combined properties of microtubule dynamics and interactions among polymers constitute a system with predicted properties of self-organization.

    View details for DOI 10.1146/annurev.arplant.57.032905.105329

    View details for Web of Science ID 000239807700033

    View details for PubMedID 16669785

  • Shining light on signaling and metabolic networks by genetically encoded biosensors CURRENT OPINION IN PLANT BIOLOGY Lalonde, S., Ehrhardt, D. W., Frommer, W. B. 2005; 8 (6): 574-581


    Fluorescent labels have revolutionized cell biology. Signaling intermediates and metabolites can be measured in real time with subcellular spatial resolution. Most of these sensors are based on fluorescent proteins, and many report fluorescence resonance energy transfer. Because the biosensors are genetically encoded, a toolbox for addressing cell biological questions at the systems level is now available. Fluorescent biosensors are able to determine the localization of proteins and their dynamics, to reveal the cellular and subcellular localization of the respective interactions and activities, and to provide complementary data on the steady state levels of ions, metabolites, and signaling intermediates with high temporal and spatial resolution. They represent the basis for cell-based high-throughput assays that are necessary for a systems perspective on plant cell function.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pbi.2005.09.015

    View details for Web of Science ID 000233231400003

    View details for PubMedID 16188489

  • Evidence for high-cavacity bidirectional glucose transport across the endoplasmic reticulum membrane by genetically encoded fluorescence resonance energy transfer nanosensors MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY Fehr, M., Takanaga, H., Ehrhardt, D. W., Frommer, W. B. 2005; 25 (24): 11102-11112


    Glucose release from hepatocytes is important for maintenance of blood glucose levels. Glucose-6-phosphate phosphatase, catalyzing the final metabolic step of gluconeogenesis, faces the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) lumen. Thus, glucose produced in the ER has to be either exported from the ER into the cytosol before release into circulation or exported directly by a vesicular pathway. To measure ER transport of glucose, fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based nanosensors were targeted to the cytosol or the ER lumen of HepG2 cells. During perfusion with 5 mM glucose, cytosolic levels were maintained at approximately 80% of the external supply, indicating that plasma membrane transport exceeded the rate of glucose phosphorylation. Glucose levels and kinetics inside the ER were indistinguishable from cytosolic levels, suggesting rapid bidirectional glucose transport across the ER membrane. A dynamic model incorporating rapid bidirectional ER transport yields a very good fit with the observed kinetics. Plasma membrane and ER membrane glucose transport differed regarding sensitivity to cytochalasin B and showed different relative kinetics for galactose uptake and release, suggesting catalysis by distinct activities at the two membranes. The presence of a high-capacity glucose transport system on the ER membrane is consistent with the hypothesis that glucose export from hepatocytes occurs via the cytosol by a yet-to-be-identified set of proteins.

    View details for DOI 10.1128/MCB.25.24.11102-11112.2005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000233762200037

    View details for PubMedID 16314530

  • Arabidopsis thaliana subcellular responses to compatible Erysiphe cichoracearum infections PLANT JOURNAL Koh, S., Andre, A., Edwards, H., Ehrhardt, D., Somerville, S. 2005; 44 (3): 516-529


    Subcellular events of Erysiphe cichoracearum infections of epidermal cells were visualized in living tissues of Arabidopsis plants carrying various green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged organelles via laser scanning confocal microscopy. Early in the infection sequence, cytoplasm and organelles moved towards penetration sites and accumulated near penetration pegs. Peroxisomes appeared to accumulate preferentially relative to the cytoplasm at penetration sites. Another early event, which preceded haustorium formation, was the aggregation of some GFP-tagged plasma membrane marker proteins into rings around penetration sites, which extended across cell-wall boundaries into neighboring cells. This feature localized to sites where papillae were deposited. The extrahaustorial membrane (EHM) encases the fungal feeding structure, the haustorium, separating it from the host cytoplasm. Eight plasma membrane markers were excluded from the EHM and remained in a collar-like formation around the haustorial neck. These observations support the suggestions that the EHM is a unique, specialized membrane and is different from the plasma membrane. Our results suggested two possibilities for the origin of the EHM: invagination of the plasma membrane coupled with membrane differentiation; or de novo synthesis of the EHM by targeted vesicle trafficking.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2005.02545.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000232660000014

    View details for PubMedID 16236160

  • The PEN1 syntaxin defines a novel cellular compartment upon fungal attack and is required for the timely assembly of papillae\ MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL Assaad, F. F., Qiu, J. L., Youngs, H., Ehrhardt, D., Zimmerli, L., Kalde, M., Wanner, G., Peck, S. C., Edwards, H., Ramonell, K., Somerville, C. R., Thordal-Christensen, H. 2004; 15 (11): 5118-5129


    Attack by the host powdery mildew Erysiphe cichoracearum usually results in successful penetration and rapid proliferation of the fungus on Arabidopsis. By contrast, the nonhost barley powdery mildew Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh) typically fails to penetrate Arabidopsis epidermal cells. In both instances the plant secretes cell wall appositions or papillae beneath the penetration peg of the fungus. Genetic screens for mutations that result in increased penetration of Bgh on Arabidopsis have recently identified the PEN1 syntaxin. Here we examine the role of PEN1 and of its closest homologue, SYP122, identified as a syntaxin whose expression is responsive to infection. pen1 syp122 double mutants are both dwarfed and necrotic, suggesting that the two syntaxins have overlapping functions. Although syp122-1 and the cell wall mur mutants have considerably more pronounced primary cell wall defects than pen1 mutants, these have relatively subtle or no effects on penetration resistance. Upon fungal attack, PEN1 appears to be actively recruited to papillae, and there is a 2-h delay in papillae formation in the pen1-1 mutant. We conclude that SYP122 may have a general function in secretion, including a role in cell wall deposition. By contrast, PEN1 appears to have a basal function in secretion and a specialized defense-related function, being required for the polarized secretion events that give rise to papilla formation.

    View details for DOI 10.1091/mbc.E04-02-0140

    View details for Web of Science ID 000224648400033

    View details for PubMedID 15342780

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC524786

  • Real-time lineage analysis reveals oriented cell divisions associated with morphogenesis at the shoot apex of Arabidopsis thaliana DEVELOPMENT Reddy, G. V., Heisler, M. G., Ehrhardt, D. W., Meyerowitz, E. M. 2004; 131 (17): 4225-4237


    Precise knowledge of spatial and temporal patterns of cell division, including number and orientation of divisions, and knowledge of cell expansion, is central to understanding morphogenesis. Our current knowledge of cell division patterns during plant and animal morphogenesis is largely deduced from analysis of clonal shapes and sizes. But such an analysis can reveal only the number, not the orientation or exact rate, of cell divisions. In this study, we have analyzed growth in real time by monitoring individual cell divisions in the shoot apical meristems (SAMs) of Arabidopsis thaliana. The live imaging technique has led to the development of a spatial and temporal map of cell division patterns. We have integrated cell behavior over time to visualize growth. Our analysis reveals temporal variation in mitotic activity and the cell division is coordinated across clonally distinct layers of cells. Temporal variation in mitotic activity is not correlated to the estimated plastochron length and diurnal rhythms. Cell division rates vary across the SAM surface. Cells in the peripheral zone (PZ) divide at a faster rate than in the central zone (CZ). Cell division rates in the CZ are relatively heterogeneous when compared with PZ cells. We have analyzed the cell behavior associated with flower primordium development starting from a stage at which the future flower comprises four cells in the L1 epidermal layer. Primordium development is a sequential process linked to distinct cellular behavior. Oriented cell divisions, in primordial progenitors and in cells located proximal to them, are associated with initial primordial outgrowth. The oriented cell divisions are followed by a rapid burst of cell expansion and cell division, which transforms a flower primordium into a three-dimensional flower bud. Distinct lack of cell expansion is seen in a narrow band of cells, which forms the boundary region between developing flower bud and the SAM. We discuss these results in the context of SAM morphogenesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1242/dev.01261

    View details for Web of Science ID 000224138000010

    View details for PubMedID 15280208

  • Live Imaging of glucose homeostasis in nuclei of COS-7 cells JOURNAL OF FLUORESCENCE Fehr, M., Lalonde, S., Ehrhardt, D. W., Frommer, W. B. 2004; 14 (5): 603-609


    Measuring subcellular glucose levels deep in tissues can provide new insights into compartmentalization and specialization of glucose metabolism among different cells. As shown previously, a FRET-based glucose-sensor consisting of two GFP-variants and the Escherichia coli periplasmic glucose/galactose binding protein was successfully expressed in the cytosol of COS7-cells and used to determine cytosolic glucose levels. Recording cytosolic fluorescence intensities in cells located in deeper layers of tissues is often difficult due to loss of signal intensity caused by effects of other cell layers on excitation and emission light. These interfering effects may be reduced by restricting fluorophores to occupy only a fraction of the assayed tissue volume. This can be accomplished by confining fluorophores to a sub-compartment of each cell in the tissue, such as the nucleus. The glucose-sensor was targeted to nuclei of COS7-cells. To determine, whether nuclear glucose levels can be used to track cytosolic changes, nuclear glucose concentrations were quantified as the cells were challenged with external glucose over a range of 0.5 to 10 mM and compared to cytosolic levels. Internal glucose concentrations in both compartments were similar, corresponding to approximately 50% of the external concentration. Taken together, these results indicate that nuclear glucose levels can be used to determine cytosolic levels indirectly, permitting more reliable quantification of fluorescence intensities and providing a tool for measurements not only in cell cultures but also in tissues.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000223515900013

    View details for PubMedID 15617267

  • The Arabidopsis SKU6/SPIRAL1 gene encodes a plus end-localized microtubule-interacting protein involved in directional cell expansion PLANT CELL Sedbrook, J. C., Ehrhardt, D. W., Fisher, S. E., Scheible, W. R., Somerville, C. R. 2004; 16 (6): 1506-1520


    The sku6-1 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana exhibits altered patterns of root and organ growth. sku6 roots, etiolated hypocotyls, and leaf petioles exhibit right-handed axial twisting, and root growth on inclined agar media is strongly right skewed. The touch-dependent sku6 root skewing phenotype is suppressed by the antimicrotubule drugs propyzamide and oryzalin, and right skewing is exacerbated by cold treatment. Cloning revealed that sku6-1 is allelic to spiral1-1 (spr1-1). However, modifiers in the Columbia (Col) and Landsberg erecta (Ler) ecotype backgrounds mask noncomplementation in sku6-1 (Col)/spr1-1 (Ler) F1 plants. The SPR1 gene encodes a plant-specific 12-kD protein that is ubiquitously expressed and belongs to a six-member gene family in Arabidopsis. An SPR1:green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion expressed in transgenic seedlings localized to microtubules within the cortical array, preprophase band, phragmoplast, and mitotic spindle. SPR1:GFP was concentrated at the growing ends of cortical microtubules and was dependent on polymer growth state; the microtubule-related fluorescence dissipated upon polymer shortening. The protein has a repeated motif at both ends, separated by a predicted rod-like domain, suggesting that it may act as an intermolecular linker. These observations suggest that SPR1 is involved in microtubule polymerization dynamics and/or guidance, which in turn influences touch-induced directional cell expansion and axial twisting.

    View details for DOI 10.1105/tpc.020644

    View details for Web of Science ID 000221984700014

    View details for PubMedID 15155883

  • Minimally invasive dynamic imaging of ions and metabolites in living cells CURRENT OPINION IN PLANT BIOLOGY Fehr, M., Ehrhardt, D. W., Lalonde, S., Frommer, W. B. 2004; 7 (3): 345-351


    By 2010, it is expected that biochemical functions will be assigned to many of the products of the approximately 30,000 Arabidopsis genes. Moreover, systematic analysis of mutants will provide insight into the biological function of the gene products. Metabolomic technologies complement these approaches by testing for changes in cellular ion and metabolite patterns, providing essential information for the construction of cellular and whole-plant models of metabolism. However, one important set of information that is especially relevant for multicellular organisms is still lacking, that is, knowledge of the cellular and subcellular variation in metabolite levels. The recent development of protein-based nanosensors for metabolites will help to close this gap by providing a set of tools that can be used to determine cytosolic and subcellular metabolite levels in real time using fluorescence-based microscopy. A major challenge for the future is the application of these nanosensors to quantify metabolite levels in plant cells and tissues.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pbi.2004.03.015

    View details for Web of Science ID 000221573800016

    View details for PubMedID 15134757

  • High-throughput fluorescent tagging of full-length arabidopsis gene products in planta PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Tian, G. W., Mohanty, A., Chary, S. N., Li, S. J., Paap, B., Drakakaki, G., Kopec, C. D., Li, J. X., Ehrhardt, D., Jackson, D., Rhee, S. Y., Raikhel, N. V., Citovsky, V. 2004; 135 (1): 25-38


    We developed a high-throughput methodology, termed fluorescent tagging of full-length proteins (FTFLP), to analyze expression patterns and subcellular localization of Arabidopsis gene products in planta. Determination of these parameters is a logical first step in functional characterization of the approximately one-third of all known Arabidopsis genes that encode novel proteins of unknown function. Our FTFLP-based approach offers two significant advantages: first, it produces internally-tagged full-length proteins that are likely to exhibit native intracellular localization, and second, it yields information about the tissue specificity of gene expression by the use of native promoters. To demonstrate how FTFLP may be used for characterization of the Arabidopsis proteome, we tagged a series of known proteins with diverse subcellular targeting patterns as well as several proteins with unknown function and unassigned subcellular localization.

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.104.040139

    View details for Web of Science ID 000221420800005

    View details for PubMedID 15141064

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC429330

  • GFP technology for live cell imaging CURRENT OPINION IN PLANT BIOLOGY Ehrhardt, D. 2003; 6 (6): 622-628


    Fluorescent proteins are generating fresh insight into plant cell function by providing new opportunities to visualize structure and dynamic events in live cells. Novel and transient structures, such as discreet locations in the nucleus where activated photoreceptor proteins accumulate, have recently been identified with fluorescent protein tags. Fluorescent proteins have also enabled the discovery of new dynamic molecular behaviors, such as the repositioning of cortical microtubules by polymer treadmilling. The early potential of fluorescent proteins to reveal protein interactions in living cells is being realized, as demonstrated in recent studies of transcription factors and signal transduction proteins. A promising new approach to the creation of fluorescent-protein-based biosensors has produced an exciting family of tools for visualizing small sugars, and perhaps will produce a wide variety of other small molecules in the future.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pbi.2003.09.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000186799300016

    View details for PubMedID 14611963

  • Sustained microtubule treadmilling in Arabidopsis cortical arrays SCIENCE Shaw, S. L., Kamyar, R., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2003; 300 (5626): 1715-1718


    Plant cells create highly structured microtubule arrays at the cell cortex without a central organizing center to anchor the microtubule ends. In vivo imaging of individual microtubules in Arabidopsis plants revealed that new microtubules are initiated at the cell cortex and exhibit dynamics at both ends. Polymerization-biased dynamic instability at one end and slow depolymerization at the other end result in sustained microtubule migration across the cell cortex by a hybrid treadmilling mechanism. This motility causes widespread microtubule repositioning and contributes to changes in array organization through microtubule reorientation and bundling.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1083529

    View details for PubMedID 12714675

  • Pharmacological analysis of nod factor-induced calcium spiking in Medicago truncatula. Evidence for the requirement of type IIA calcium pumps and phosphoinositide signaling PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Engstrom, E. M., Ehrhardt, D. W., Mitra, R. M., Long, S. R. 2002; 128 (4): 1390-1401


    Bacterial Nod factors trigger a number of cellular responses in root hairs of compatible legume hosts, which include periodic, transient increases in cytosolic calcium levels, termed calcium spiking. We screened 13 pharmaceutical modulators of eukaryotic signal transduction for effects on Nod factor-induced calcium spiking. The purpose of this screening was 2-fold: to implicate enzymes required for Nod factor-induced calcium spiking in Medicago sp., and to identify inhibitors of calcium spiking suitable for correlating calcium spiking to other Nod factor responses to begin to understand the function of calcium spiking in Nod factor signal transduction. 2-Aminoethoxydiphenylborate, caffeine, cyclopiazonic acid (CPA), 2,5-di-(t-butyl)-1,4-hydroquinone, and U-73122 inhibit Nod factor-induced calcium spiking. CPA and U-73122 are inhibitors of plant type IIA calcium pumps and phospholipase C, respectively, and implicate the requirement for these enzymes in Nod factor-induced calcium spiking. CPA and U-73122 inhibit Nod factor-induced calcium spiking robustly at concentrations with no apparent toxicity to root hairs, making CPA and U-73122 suitable for testing whether calcium spiking is causal to subsequent Nod factor responses.

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.010691

    View details for Web of Science ID 000175209900025

    View details for PubMedID 11950987

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC154266

  • Polarized cytokinesis in vacuolate cells of Arabidopsis PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Cutler, S. R., Ehrhardt, D. W. 2002; 99 (5): 2812-2817


    The view of plant-cell cytokinesis commonly depicted in textbooks is of a symmetrical process, with the phragmoplast initiating in the center of the cell and growing outward to the parental cell membrane. In contrast to this picture, we observe that cell-plate development in Arabidopsis shoot cells is highly polarized along the plane of division. Three-dimensional live-cell imaging reveals that the mitotic spindle and phragmoplast are laterally displaced, and that the growing cell plate anchors on one side of the cell at an early stage of cytokinesis. Growth of phragmoplast across the cell creates a new partition in its wake, giving the visual effect of a curtain being pulled across the cell. Throughout this process, the advancing front of the phragmoplast is in intimate contact with the parental wall, suggesting that short-range interactions between the phragmoplast and plasma membrane may play important roles in guiding the cell plate throughout much of its development. Polarized cytokinesis was observed in a wide variety of vacuolate shoot cells and in some small root cells, implying that it is not solely a function of cell size. This mode of cytokinesis may provide a mechanically robust mechanism for cell-plate formation in large cells and suggests a simple explanation for the occurrence of cell wall stubs observed upon drug treatment or in cytokinetic mutants.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.052712299

    View details for Web of Science ID 000174284600042

    View details for PubMedID 11880633

  • Trophic obligate conversion of an photoautotrophic organism through metabolic engineering SCIENCE Zaslavskaia, L. A., Lippmeier, J. C., Shih, C., Ehrhardt, D., Grossman, A. R., Apt, K. E. 2001; 292 (5524): 2073-2075


    Most microalgae are obligate photoautotrophs and their growth is strictly dependent on the generation of photosynthetically derived energy. We show that the microalga Phaeodactylum tricornutum can be genetically engineered to thrive on exogenous glucose in the absence of light through the introduction of a gene encoding a glucose transporter (glut1 or hup1). This demonstrates that a fundamental change in the metabolism of an organism can be accomplished through the introduction of a single gene. This also represents progress toward the use of fermentation technology for large-scale commercial exploitation of algae by reducing limitations associated with light-dependent growth.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000169284700046

    View details for PubMedID 11408656

  • Dead cells don't dance: insights from live-cell imaging in plants CURRENT OPINION IN PLANT BIOLOGY Cutler, S., Ehrhardt, D. 2000; 3 (6): 532-537


    Live-cell imaging has yielded surprising pictures of subcellular structures and dynamics in living plant cells. Recent studies illustrate the power of live-cell observation for revealing new biological phenomena and for generating new questions about plant cell structure and function.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000165497000014

    View details for PubMedID 11074386

  • Random GFP :: cDNA fusions enable visualization of subcellular structures in cells of Arabidopsis at a high frequency PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Cutler, S. R., Ehrhardt, D. W., Griffitts, J. S., Somerville, C. R. 2000; 97 (7): 3718-3723


    We describe a general approach for identifying components of subcellular structures in a multicellular organism by exploiting the ability to generate thousands of independent transformants in Arabidopsis thaliana. A library of Arabidopsis cDNAs was constructed so that the cDNAs were inserted at the 3' end of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) coding sequence. The library was introduced en masse into Arabidopsis by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. Fluorescence imaging of 5,700 transgenic plants indicated that approximately 2% of lines expressed a fusion protein with a different subcellular distribution than that of soluble GFP. About half of the markers identified were targeted to peroxisomes or other subcellular destinations by non-native coding sequence (i.e., out-of-frame cDNAs). This observation suggests that some targeting signals are of sufficiently low information content that they can be generated frequently by chance. The potential of the approach for identifying markers with unique dynamic processes is demonstrated by the identification of a GFP fusion protein that displays a cell-cycle regulated change in subcellular distribution. Our results indicate that screening GFP-fusion protein libraries is a useful approach for identifying and visualizing components of subcellular structures and their associated dynamics in higher plant cells.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000086195200135

    View details for PubMedID 10737809

  • Colocalization of cell division proteins FtsZ and FtsA to cytoskeletal structures in living Escherichia coli cells by using green fluorescent protein PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Ma, X. L., Ehrhardt, D. W., Margolin, W. 1996; 93 (23): 12998-13003


    In the current model for bacterial cell division, FtsZ protein forms a ring that marks the division plane, creating a cytoskeletal framework for the subsequent action of other proteins such as FtsA. This putative protein complex ultimately generates the division septum. Herein we report that FtsZ and FtsA proteins tagged with green fluorescent protein (GEP) colocalize to division-site ring-like structures in living bacterial cells in a visible space between the segregated nucleoids. Cells with higher levels of FtsZ-GFP or with FtsA-GFP plus excess wild-type FtsZ were inhibited for cell division and often exhibited bright fluorescent spiral tubules that spanned the length of the filamentous cells. This suggests that FtsZ may switch from a septation-competent localized ring to an unlocalized spiral under some conditions and that FtsA can bind to FtsZ in both conformations. FtsZ-GFP also formed nonproductive but localized aggregates at a higher concentration that could represent FtsZ nucleation sites. The general domain structure of FtsZ-GFP resembles that of tubulin, since the C terminus of FtsZ is not required for polymerization but may regulate polymerization state. The N-terminal portion of Rhizobium FtsZ polymerized in Escherichia coli and appeared to copolymerize with E. coli FtsZ, suggesting a degree of interspecies functional conservation. Analysis of several deletions of FtsA-GFP suggests that multiple segments of FtsA are important for its localization to the FtsZ ring.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1996VT05400060

    View details for PubMedID 8917533

  • Calcium spiking in plant root hairs responding to Rhizobium nodulation signals CELL Ehrhardt, D. W., Wais, R., Long, S. R. 1996; 85 (5): 673-681


    Rhizobium lipochitooligosaccharide signal molecules stimulate multiple responses in legume host plants, including changes in host gene expression, cell growth, and mitoses leading to root nodule development. The basis for signal transduction in the plant is not known. We examined cytoplasmic free calcium in host root hairs using calcium-sensitive reporter dyes. Image analysis of injected dyes revealed localized periodic spikes in cytoplasmic calcium levels that ensued after a characteristic lag following signal application. Structural features of the signal molecules required to cause nodulation responses in alfalfa are also essential for stimulating calcium spiking. A nonnodulating alfalfa mutant is defective in calcium spiking, consistent with the possibility that this mutant is blocked in an early stage of nodulation signal perception.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1996UP34400008

    View details for PubMedID 8646776



    Early stages of nodulation involve the exchange of signals between the bacterium and the host plant. Bacterial nodulation (nod) genes are required for Rhizobium spp. to synthesize lipooligosaccharide morphogens, termed Nod factors. The common nod genes encode enzymes that synthesize the factor core structure, which is modified by host-specific gene products. Here we show direct in vitro evidence that Rhizobium meliloti NodH, a host-specific nodulation gene, catalyzes the transfer of sulfate from 3'-phosphoadenosine 5'-phosphosulfate to the terminal 6-O position of Nod factors, and we show substrate requirements for the reaction. Our results indicate that polymerization of the chitooligosaccharide backbone likely precedes sulfation and that sulfation is not absolutely dependent on the presence or the particular structure of the N-acyl modification. NodH sulfation provides a tool for the enzymatic in vitro synthesis of novel Nod factors, or putative Nod factors intermediates, with high specific activity.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1995TC11400028

    View details for PubMedID 7592390



    Although much is known about the bacterial genetics of early nodulation, little is known about the plant cell response. Alfalfa root hair cells were impaled with intracellular microelectrodes to measure a membrane potential depolarizing activity in Rhizobium meliloti cell-free filtrates, a plant response dependent on the bacterial nodulation genes. The depolarization was desensitized by repeated exposure to factors and was not observed in a representative nonlegume. A purified extracellular Nod factor, NodRm-IV(S), caused membrane potential depolarization at nanomolar concentrations. This rapid single-cell assay provides a tool for dissecting the mechanisms of host cell response in early nodulation.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1992HU22400030

    View details for PubMedID 10744524



    During sulfur-limited growth, the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 loses most of its photosynthetic pigments and develops an increased capacity to acquire sulfate. Sulfur deprivation also triggers the synthesis of several soluble polypeptides. We have isolated a prominent polypeptide of 33 kDa that accumulates specifically under sulfur-limiting conditions. This polypeptide was localized to the periplasmic space. The gene for this protein (designated rhdA) was isolated and discovered to lie within a region of the Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 genome that encodes components of the sulfate permease system. The mRNA for the 33-kDa protein accumulates to high levels within an hour after the cells are deprived of sulfur and drops rapidly when sulfur is added back to the cultures. The amino acid sequence of the protein has similarity to bovine liver rhodanese, an enzyme that transfers the thiol group of thiosulfate to a thiophilic acceptor molecule, and a rhodaneselike protein of Saccharopolyspora erythraea. A strain in which rhdA was interrupted by a drug resistance marker exhibited marginally lower levels of rhodanese activity but was still capable of efficiently utilizing a variety of inorganic sulfur sources. The possible role of this protein in the transport of specific sulfur compounds is discussed.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1991FK03800003

    View details for PubMedID 1708376

  • NITROGEN-FIXATION - NEW ROUTE TO A STICKY SUBJECT NATURE Long, S. R., Ehrhardt, D. W. 1989; 338 (6216): 545-546