Elucidation of a function of a protein that controls formation of “aqueducts” for plants

January 04, 2024

A big step for clarification of a control mechanism of cell wall formation

Nagoya University, in a collaboration with National Institute of Genetics, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, RIKEN CSRS, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, and Kyoto University of Advanced Science, has demonstrated a novel mechanism necessary for formation of the vessel, a transportation route of plants for water.

The research group has determined that microtubule depletion domain 1 (MIDD1) proteins form aggregates through liquid-liquid phase separation in the vessel of Arabidopsis thaliana and has a function of decomposing microtubules providing a scaffold of cell wall formation. It has been demonstrated that this function of MIDD1 proteins inhibits cell wall formation locally, securing transportation routes for water in the vessel. This finding will tremendously improve understanding of the control mechanism of cell wall formation in plants.

The cell wall covering plant cells play various roles, including control of cell shape and securement of transportation routes for water/nutrients. Appropriate control of cell wall formation is important for plant cells to fulfill their functions. The findings from this research are expected to lead to a new technology that controls cell wall formation artificially and regulates form and hardness of plants. The mechanism demonstrated in this study of decomposing microtubules through liquid-liquid phase separation is also considered to contribute significantly to elucidation of control mechanism of microtubules present in common in the eucaryote.

Original article
Nature Plants doi: 10.1038/s41477-023-01593-9
T. Higa, S. T. Kijima, T. Sasaki, S. Takatani, R. Asano, Y. Kondo, M. Wakazaki, M. Sato, K. Toyooka, T. Demura, H. Fukuda, Y. Oda,
"Microtubule-associated phase separation of MIDD1 tunes cell wall spacing in xylem vessels in Arabidopsis thaliana".
Mayumi Wakazaki; Technical Staff
Mayuko Sato; Technical Scientist
Kiminori Toyooka; Senior Technical Scientist
Mass Spectrometry and Microscopy Unit