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  1. γ-Tubulin typically forms a ring-shaped complex with 5 related γ-tubulin complex proteins (GCP2 to GCP6), and this γ-tubulin ring complex (γTuRC) serves as a template for microtubule (MT) nucleation in plants and animals. While the γTuRC takes part in MT nucleation in most eukaryotes, in fungi such events take place robustly with just the γ-tubulin small complex (γTuSC) assembled by γ-tubulin plus GCP2 and GCP3. To explore whether the γTuRC is the sole functional γ-tubulin complex in plants, we generated 2 mutants of theGCP6gene encoding the largest subunit of the γTuRC inArabidopsis thaliana. Both mutants showed similar phenotypes of dwarfed vegetative growth and reduced fertility. Thegcp6mutant assembled the γTuSC, while the wild-type cells had GCP6 join other GCPs to produce the γTuRC. Although thegcp6cells had greatly diminished γ-tubulin localization on spindle MTs, the protein was still detected there. Thegcp6cells formed spindles that lacked MT convergence and discernable poles; however, they managed to cope with the challenge of MT disorganization and were able to complete mitosis and cytokinesis. Our results reveal that the γTuRC is not the only functional form of the γ-tubulin complex for MT nucleation in plant cells, and that γ-tubulin-dependent, but γTuRC-independent, mechanisms meet the basal need ofmore »MT nucleation. Moreover, we show that the γTuRC function is more critical for the assembly of spindle MT array than for the phragmoplast. Thus, our findings provide insight into acentrosomal MT nucleation and organization.

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