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Plant Signal Behav. 2011 Nov;6(11):1710-3. doi: 10.4161/psb.6.11.17477. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Emerging aspects of ER organization in root hair tip growth: lessons from RHD3 and Atlastin.

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  • 1Developmental Biology Research Initiatives, Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Cell polarity is a fundamental aspect of eukaryotic cells. A central question for cell biologists is how the polarity of a cell is established and maintained. Root hairs are exceptionally polarized structures formed from specific root epidermal cells. The morphogenesis of root hairs is characterized by the localized cell growth in a small dome at the tip of the hair, a process called tip growth. Root hairs are thus an attractive model system to study the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity in eukaryotes. Research on Arabidopsis root hairs has identified a plethora of molecular and cellular components that are important for root hair tip growth. Recently, studies on RHD3 and Atlastin have revealed a surprising similarity with respect to the role of the tubular ER network in tip growth of root hairs in plants and the axonal outgrowth of corticospinal neurons in neurological disorders known as hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). In this mini-review, we highlight recent progress in understanding of the function and regulation of RHD3 in the generation of the tubular ER network and discussed ways in which RHD3 could be involved in the establishment and maintenance of root hair tip growth.

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