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Plant Cell. 2000 Jun;12(6):933-47.

Syncytial-type cell plates: a novel kind of cell plate involved in endosperm cellularization of Arabidopsis.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0347, USA.


Cell wall formation in the syncytial endosperm of Arabidopsis was studied by using high-pressure-frozen/freeze-substituted developing seeds and immunocytochemical techniques. The endosperm cellularization process begins at the late globular embryo stage with the synchronous organization of small clusters of oppositely oriented microtubules ( approximately 10 microtubules in each set) into phragmoplast-like structures termed mini-phragmoplasts between both sister and nonsister nuclei. These mini-phragmoplasts produce a novel kind of cell plate, the syncytial-type cell plate, from Golgi-derived vesicles approximately 63 nm in diameter, which fuse by way of hourglass-shaped intermediates into wide ( approximately 45 nm in diameter) tubules. These wide tubules quickly become coated and surrounded by a ribosome-excluding matrix; as they grow, they branch and fuse with each other to form wide tubular networks. The mini-phragmoplasts formed between a given pair of nuclei produce aligned tubular networks that grow centrifugally until they merge into a coherent wide tubular network with the mini-phragmoplasts positioned along the network margins. The individual wide tubular networks expand laterally until they meet and eventually fuse with each other at the sites of the future cell corners. Transformation of the wide tubular networks into noncoated, thin ( approximately 27 nm in diameter) tubular networks begins at multiple sites and coincides with the appearance of clathrin-coated budding structures. After fusion with the syncytial cell wall, the thin tubular networks are converted into fenestrated sheets and cell walls. Immunolabeling experiments show that the cell plates and cell walls of the endosperm differ from those of the embryo and maternal tissue in two features: their xyloglucans lack terminal fucose residues on the side chain, and callose persists in the cell walls after the cell plates fuse with the parental plasma membrane. The lack of terminal fucose residues on xyloglucans suggests that these cell wall matrix molecules serve both structural and storage functions.

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