The plant-cell cycle

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Francis, D. and Halford, N. G. 1995. The plant-cell cycle. Physiologia Plantarum. 93 (2), pp. 365-374.

AuthorsFrancis, D. and Halford, N. G.

The first aim of this paper is to review recent progress in identifying genes in plants homologous to cell division cycle (cdc) genes of fission yeast. In the latter, cdc genes are well-characterised. Arguably, most is known about cdc2 which encodes a 34 kDa protein kinase (p34(cdc2)) that functions at the G2-M and G1-S transition points of the cell cycle. At G2-M, the p34(cdc2) protein kinase is regulated by a number of gene products that function in independent regulatory pathways. The cdc2 kinase is switched on by a phosphatase encoded by cdc25, and switched off by a protein kinase encoded by weel. p34 Must also bind with a cyclin protein to form maturation promoting factor before exhibiting protein kinase activity. In plants, homologues to p34(cdc2) have been identified in pea, wheat, Arabidopsis, alfalfa, maize and Chlamydomonas. They all exhibit the PSTAIRE motif, an absolutely conserved amino acid sequence in all functional homologues sequenced so far. As in animals, some plant species contain more than one cdc2 protein kinase gene, but in contrast to animals where one functions at G2-M and the other (CDK2 in humans and Eg1 in Xenopus) at G1-S, it is still unclear whether there are functional differences between the plant p34(cdc2) protein kinases. Again, whereas in animals cyclins are well characterised on the basis of sequence analysis, into class A, class B (G2-M) and CLN (G1 cyclins), cyclins isolated from several plant species cannot be so clearly characterised. The differences between plant and animal homologues to p34(cdc2) and cyclins raises the possibility that some of the regulatory controls of the plant genes may be different from those of their animal counterparts. The second aim of the paper is to review how planes of cell division and cell size are regulated at the molecular level. We focus on reports showing that p34(cdc2) binds to the preprophase band (ppb) in late G2 of the cell cycle. The binding of p34(cdc2) to ppbs may be important in regulating changes in directional growth but, more importantly, there is a requirement to understand what controls the positioning of ppbs. Thus, we highlight work resolving proteins such as the microtubule associated proteins (MAPs) and those mitogen activated protein kinases (MAP kinases), which act on, or bind to, mitotic microtubules. Plane homologues to MAP kinases have been identified in alfalfa. Finally, some consideration is given to cell size at division and how alterations in cell size can alter plant development. Transgenic tobacco plants expressing the fission yeast gene, cdc25, exhibited various perturbations of development and a reduced cell size at division. Hence, cdc25 affected the cell cycle (and as a consequence, cell size at division) and cdc25 expression was correlated with various alterations to development including precocious flowering and altered floral morphogenesis. Our view is that the cell cycle is a growth cycle in which a cell achieves an optimal size for division and that this size control has an important bearing on differentiation and development. Understanding how cell size is controlled, and how plant cdc genes are regulated, will be essential keys to 'the cell cycle locks', which when 'opened', will provide further clues about how the cell cycle is linked to plant development.

KeywordsPlant Sciences
Year of Publication1995
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Journal citation93 (2), pp. 365-374
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access

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