Microtubule nucleation and establishment of the mitotic spindle in vascular plant cells

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The microtubular cytoskeleton plays a major role in cellular organization and proliferation. The first step in construction of a microtubule is microtubule nucleation. Individual microtubules then participate in organization of more complex microtubule arrays. A strong body of evidence suggests that the underlying molecular mechanisms involve protein complexes that are conserved among eukaryotes. However, plant cell specificities, mainly characterized by the presence of a cell wall and the absence of centrosomes, must be taken into account to understand their mitotic processes. The goal of this review is to summarize and discuss current knowledge regarding the mechanisms involved in plant spindle assembly during early mitotic events. The functions of the proteins currently characterized at microtubule nucleation sites and involved in spindle assembly are considered during cell-cycle progression from G2 phase to metaphase.

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