Central to building and reorganizing cytoskeletal arrays is the creation of new polymers. While nucleation has been the major focus of study for new microtubule generation, severing has been proposed as an alternative mechanism to create new polymers, a mechanism recently shown to drive the reorientation of cortical arrays of higher plants in response to blue light perception. As severing produces new plus ends behind the stabilizing GTP-cap, an important and unanswered question is how these are stabilized in vivo to promote net microtubule generation. Here we identify the conserved protein CLASP as a potent stabilizer of new plus ends created by katanin severing and find that CLASP is required for rapid cortical array reorientation. In clasp mutants both rescue of shrinking plus ends and the regrowth of plus ends immediately after severing are reduced, computational modeling reveals that it is the specific stabilization of severed ends that explains CLASP`s function in promoting microtubule amplification by severing and cortical array reorientation.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
J. Cell Biol.
Theory of Biomolecular Matter

Lindeboom, J., Nakamura, M., Saltini, M., Hibbel, A., Walia, A., Ketelaar, T., … Ehrhardt, D. (2019). CLASP stabilizes microtubule plus ends created by serving to drive cortical array reorientation. J. Cell Biol., 218(1), 190–205. doi:10.1083/jcb.201805047