The microtubule (MT) "plus end" constitutes the platform for the accumulation of a structurally and functionally diverse group of proteins, collectively called "MT plus-end tracking proteins" (+TIPs). +TIPs control MT dynamics and link MTs to diverse sub-cellular structures. Neurospora crassa MicroTubule Binding protein-3 (MTB-3) is the homolog of yeast EB1, a highly conserved +TIP. To address the function of MTB-3, we examined strains with mtb-3 deletions, and we tagged MTB-3 with GFP to assess its dynamic behavior. MTB-3-GFP was present as comet-like structures distributed more or less homogeneously within the hyphal cytoplasm, and moving mainly towards the apex at speeds up to 4× faster than the normal hyphal elongation rates. MTB-3-GFP comets were present in all developmental stages, but were most abundant in mature hyphae. MTB-3-GFP comets were observed moving in anterograde and retrograde direction along the hypha. Retrograde movement was also observed as originating from the apical dome. The integrity of the microtubular cytoskeleton affects the presence and dynamics of MTB-3-GFP comets, while actin does not seem to play a role. The size of MTB-3-GFP comets is affected by the absence of dynactin and conventional kinesin. We detected no obvious morphological phenotypes in Δmtb-3 mutants but there were fewer MTs in Δmtb-3, MTs were less bundled and less organized. Compared to WT, both MT polymerization and depolymerization rates were significantly decreased in Δmtb-3. In summary, the lack of MTB-3 affects overall growth and morphological phenotypes of N. crassa only slightly, but deletion of mtb-3 has strong effect on MT dynamics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas