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Microfilament Distribution in Maize Meiotic Mutants Correlates with Microtubule Organization.

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  • Research Article


Microtubules and microfilaments often codistribute in plants; their presumed interaction can be tested with drugs although it is not always clear that these are without side effects. In this study, we exploited mutants defective in meiotic cell division to investigate in a noninvasive way the relationship between the two cytoskeletal elements. By staining unfixed, permeabilized cells with rhodamine-phalloidin, spatial and temporal changes in microfilament distribution during maize meiosis were examined. In wild-type microsporocytes, a microtubule array that radiates from the nucleus disappeared during spindle formation and returned at late telophase. This result differed from the complex cytoplasmic microfilament array that is present at all stages, including karyokinesis and cytokinesis. During division, a second class of microfilaments also was observed in the spindle and phragmoplast. To analyze this apparent association of microtubules and microfilaments, we examined several meiotic mutants known to have stage-specific disruptions in their microtubule arrays. Two mutations that altered the number or form of meiotic spindles also led to a dramatic reorganization of F-actin. In contrast, rearrangement of nonspindle, cytoplasmic microtubules did not lead to concomitant changes in F-actin distribution. These results suggested that microtubules and microfilaments interact in a cell cycle-specific and site-specific fashion during higher plant meiosis.

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