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Tethering of cellulose synthase to microtubules dampens mechano-induced cytoskeletal organization in Arabidopsis pavement cells.

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Schneider, René 
Ehrhardt, David W 
Meyerowitz, Elliot M  ORCID logo


Mechanical forces control development in plants and animals, acting as cues in pattern formation and as the driving force of morphogenesis. In mammalian cells, molecular assemblies residing at the interface of the cell membrane and the extracellular matrix play an important role in perceiving and transmitting external mechanical signals to trigger physiological responses. Similar processes occur in plants, but there is little understanding of the molecular mechanisms and their genetic basis. Here, we show that the number and movement directions of cellulose synthase complexes (CSCs) at the plasma membrane vary during initial stages of development in the cotyledon epidermis of Arabidopsis, closely mirroring the microtubule organization. Uncoupling microtubules and CSCs resulted in enhanced microtubule co-alignment as caused by mechanical stimuli driven either by cell shape or by tissue-scale physical perturbations. Furthermore, micromechanical perturbation resulted in depletion of CSCs from the plasma membrane, suggesting a possible link between cellulose synthase removal from the plasma membrane and microtubule response to mechanical stimuli. Taken together, our results suggest that the interaction of cellulose synthase with cortical microtubules forms a physical continuum between the cell wall, plasma membrane and the cytoskeleton that modulates the mechano-response of the cytoskeleton.


Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI); doi:


Arabidopsis, Arabidopsis Proteins, Glucosyltransferases, Microtubules

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Nat Plants

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) (453188536)
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) (031L0177B)