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The subfamily II catalytic subunits of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) are involved in cortical microtubule organization

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Main conclusion

The subfamily II catalytic subunits of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) regulate the cortical microtubule dynamics in Arabidopsis, through interaction with TONNEAU2 (TON2)/FASS and modulation of α-tubulin dephosphorylation.

Protein phosphatase 2A is a major protein phosphatase in eukaryotes that dephosphorylates many different substrates to regulate their function. PP2A is assembled into a heterotrimeric complex of scaffolding A subunit, regulatory B subunit, and catalytic C subunit. Plant PP2A catalytic C subunit (PP2AC) isoforms are classified into two subfamilies. In this study, we investigated the cellular functions of the Arabidopsis PP2AC subfamily II genes PP2AC-3 and PP2AC-4, particularly regarding the cortical microtubule (MT) organization. PP2AC-3 and PP2AC-4 strongly interacted with the B′′ regulatory subunit TON2. Simultaneous silencing of PP2AC-3 and PP2AC-4 by virus-induced gene silencing (PP2AC-3,4 VIGS) significantly altered plant morphology in Arabidopsis, increasing cell numbers in leaves and stems. The leaf epidermis of PP2AC-3,4 VIGS plants largely lost its jigsaw-puzzle shape and exhibited reduced trichome branch numbers. VIGS of PP2AC-3,4 in Arabidopsis transgenic plants that expressed GFP-fused β-tubulin 6 isoform (GFP-TUB6) for the visualization of MTs caused a reduction in the cortical MT array density in the pavement cells. VIGS of TON2 also led to similar cellular phenotypes and cortical MT patterns compared with those after VIGS of PP2AC-3,4, suggesting that PP2AC-3,4 and their interaction partner TON2 play a role in cortical MT organization in leaf epidermal cells. Furthermore, silencing of PP2AC-3,4 did not affect salt-induced phosphorylation of α-tubulin but delayed its dephosphorylation after salt removal. The reappearance of cortical MT arrays after salt removal was impaired in PP2AC-3,4 VIGS plants. These results suggest an involvement of PP2AC subfamily II in the regulation of cortical MT dynamics under normal and salt-stress conditions in Arabidopsis.

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The authors wish to thank Dr. Anne-Catherine Schmit (Institut de biologie moléculaire des plantes, France) for providing anti-γ-tubulin antibody. This research was supported by the Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science & Technology Development [Project numbers PJ013212 (PMBC) and PJ013227 (SSAC)] from the Rural Development Administration, and Mid-Career Researcher Program (NRF-2016R1A2B4013180) from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of the Republic of Korea.

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Correspondence to Hyun-Sook Pai.

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Yoon, J., Ahn, H. & Pai, H. The subfamily II catalytic subunits of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) are involved in cortical microtubule organization. Planta 248, 1551–1567 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-018-3000-0

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  • Cortical microtubules
  • Dephosphorylation of α-tubulin
  • Increased cell numbers
  • PP2A catalytic subunit subfamily II
  • TON2 interaction
  • Virus-induced gene silencing