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Plant Cell. 2001 Sep;13(9):2033-51.

Three-dimensional analysis of syncytial-type cell plates during endosperm cellularization visualized by high resolution electron tomography.

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  • 1Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.


The three-dimensional architecture of syncytial-type cell plates in the endosperm of Arabidopsis has been analyzed at approximately 6-nm resolution by means of dual-axis high-voltage electron tomography of high-pressure frozen/freeze-substituted samples. Mini-phragmoplasts consisting of microtubule clusters assemble between sister and nonsister nuclei. Most Golgi-derived vesicles appear connected to these microtubules by two molecules that resemble kinesin-like motor proteins. These vesicles fuse with each other to form hourglass-shaped intermediates, which become wide (approximately 45 nm in diameter) tubules, the building blocks of wide tubular networks. New mini-phragmoplasts also are generated de novo around the margins of expanding wide tubular networks, giving rise to new foci of cell plate growth, which later become integrated into the main cell plate. Spiral-shaped rings of the dynamin-like protein ADL1A constrict but do not fission the wide tubules at irregular intervals. These rings appear to maintain the tubular geometry of the network. The wide tubular network matures into a convoluted fenestrated sheet in a process that involves increases of 45 and 130% in relative membrane surface area and volume, respectively. The proportionally larger increase in volume appears to reflect callose synthesis. Upon fusion with the parental plasma membrane, the convoluted fenestrated sheet is transformed into a planar fenestrated sheet. This transformation involves clathrin-coated vesicles that reduce the relative membrane surface area and volume by approximately 70%. A ribosome-excluding matrix encompasses the cell plate membranes from the fusion of the first vesicles until the onset of the planar fenestrated sheet formation. We postulate that this matrix contains the molecules that mediate cell plate assembly.

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