The Mechanism of the Directional Expansion of the Plant Cell – Elucidating the Function of Protein NEK6 that Organizes the Plant Cytoskeleton –

August 10(Thu), 2017

Associate Professor Hiroyasu Motose, Shogo Takatani (doctoral program, third year), and Professor Taku Takahashi of Department of Biological Science, Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University conducted collaborative research with Assistant Professor (special appointment) Shin-ichiro Ozawa and Professor Yuichiro Takahashi of Research Institute of Interdisciplinary Science, as well as Professor Takashi Hashimoto of Nara Institute of Science and Technology to elucidate the mechanism of the straight directional growth of plant cell using Arabidopsis as the model plant. The result of this research is published in the British scientific journal “Scientific Reports” at 10 am on British time on August 10, 2017 (6 pm Japan time).

The direction individual cells constituting organs grow is important and is strictly controlled as plants form organs such as stems and roots. The direction plants extend is determined by the alignment of the skeleton inside the cell called microtubule in one direction. However, it was unknown how microtubules would be aligned. The research group of Associate Professor Motose and the above identified the function of NIMA-related kinase 6 (NEK6), the protein necessary for the directional growth of plant cells using Arabidopsis as the model plant. The research revealed that NEK6 aligns microtubules in an array by removing distorted or excessive microtubules, making the cells grow in a certain direction.

The research result promotes an understanding of the mechanism by which plant organs such as stems and roots grow in a specific direction. Microtubules and NEK proteins are universally present in eukaryotes and are indispensable for cell division and formation/flagella/cilia formation of neuronal cells, and the deficiency of which causes various diseases. The study leads to a universal and fundamental understanding of how microtubules essential for cell function are controlled.


Article Information

DOI: 0.1038/s41598-017-08453-5

Journal: Scientific Reports

Title: Directional cell expansion requires NIMA-related kinase 6 (NEK6)-mediated cortical microtubule destabilization.

Authors: Shogo Yakatani, Shinichiro Ozawa, Noriyoshi Yagi, Takashi Hashimoto, Yuichiro Takahashi, Taku Takahashi & Hiroyasu Motose

Year of Publication: 2017


Okayama University Silicon Valley Office (OUSVO)

Contact: Mototaka Senda, Ph.D.

Phone:    (1)510-894-3067




NIMA-related kinase 6 (NEK6), microtubules

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