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Plant Physiol. 2010 Feb;152(2):1065-72. doi: 10.1104/pp.109.150417. Epub 2009 Nov 25.

Flexibility contra stiffness: the phragmoplast as a physical barrier for beads but not for vesicles.

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  • 1Laboratory of Plant Cell Biology, Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands.


In plant cells, Golgi vesicles are transported to the division plane to fuse with each other, forming the cell plate, the initial membrane-bordered cell wall separating daughter cells. Vesicles, but not organelles, move through the phragmoplast, which consists of two opposing cylinders of microtubules and actin filaments, interlaced with endoplasmic reticulum membrane. To study physical aspects of this transport/inhibition process, we microinjected fluorescent synthetic 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-rac-1-glycerol (DOPG) vesicles and polystyrene beads into Tradescantia virginiana stamen hair cells. The phragmoplast was nonselective for DOPG vesicles of a size up to 150 nm in diameter but was a physical barrier for polystyrene beads having a diameter of 20 and 40 nm and also when beads were coated with the same DOPG membrane. We conclude that stiffness is a parameter for vesicle transit through the phragmoplast and discuss that cytoskeleton configurations can physically block such transit.

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