Phosphorylation and the Cytoskeleton

  • Siân M. Ritchie
  • Nicholas H. Battey
Part of the Plant Gene Research book series (GENE)


The cytoskeleton is a dynamic network of microtubules, microfilaments and intermediate filaments. The special properties of these proteins enable them to participate in a wide range of functions in plant cells (see Lloyd, 1991). Their fundamental characteristic is reversible polymerisation. This assembly and disassembly has been likened to the transition between gas and liquid, because the elements are constantly fluxing between the soluble and insoluble state (Oosawa and Kasai, 1962). This behaviour means that the proteins are highly dynamic, and so must also be closely regulated. Phosphorylation regulates the dynamics of intermediate filaments directly, by effects on the polymerisation capability of the subunit proteins. In contrast, microtubule and microfilament dynamics are regulated largely by their associated proteins, whose activity is further controlled by phosphorylation.


Intermediate Filament Okadaic Acid Microtubule Dynamic Intermediate Filament Protein Membrane Skeleton 
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Authors and Affiliations

  • Siân M. Ritchie
  • Nicholas H. Battey

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