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Spatial relationship between microtubules and plasma-membrane rosettes during the deposition of primary wall microfibrils in Closterium sp.

Thomas H. Giddings, Jr. and L. Andrew Staehelin
Planta
Vol. 173, No. 1 (1988), pp. 22-30
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23379049
Page Count: 9
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Spatial relationship between microtubules and plasma-membrane rosettes during the deposition of primary wall microfibrils in Closterium sp.
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Abstract

The mechanism by which cortical microtubules (MTs) control the orientation of cellulose microfibril deposition in elongating plant cells was investigated in cells of the green alga, Closterium sp., preserved by ultrarapid freezing. Cellulose microfibrils deposited during formation of the primary cell wall are oriented circumferentially, parallel to cortical MTs underlying the plasma membrane. Some of the microfibrils curve away from the prevailing circumferential orientation but then return to it. Freeze-fracture electron microscopy shows short rows of particle rosettes on the P-face of the plasma membrane, also oriented perpendicular to the long axis of the cell. Previous studies of algae and higher plants have provided evidence that such rosettes are involved in the deposition of cellulose microfibrils. The position of the rosettes relative to the underlying MTs was visualized by deep etching, which caused much of the plasma membrane to collapse. Membrane supported by the MTs and small areas around the rosettes resisted collapse. The rosettes were found between, or adjacent to, MTs, not directly on top of them. Rows of rosettes were often at a slight angle to the MTs. Some evidence of a periodic structure connecting the MTs to the plasma membrane was apparent in freeze-etch micrographs. We propose that rosettes are not actively or directly guided by MTs, but instead move within membrane channels delimited by cortical MTs attached to the plasma membrane, propelled by forces derived from the polymerization and crystallization of cellulose microfibrils. More widely spaced MTs presumably allow greater lateral freedom of movement of the rosette complexes and result in a more meandering pattern of deposition of the cellulose fibrils in the cell wall.

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