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Bioessays. 2003 Jun;25(6):569-76.

The architecture of polarized cell growth: the unique status of elongating plant cells.

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Institute of Botany, Department of Plant Cell Biology, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany.


Polarity is an inherent feature of almost all prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. In most eukaryotic cells, growth polarity is due to the assembly of actin-based growing domains at particular locations on the cell periphery. A contrasting scenario is that growth polarity results from the establishment of non-growing domains, which are actively maintained at opposite end-poles of the cell. This latter mode of growth is common in rod-shaped bacteria and, surprisingly, also in the majority of plant cells, which elongate along the apical-basal axes of plant organs. The available data indicate that the non-growing end-pole domains of plant cells are sites of intense endocytosis and recycling. These actin-enriched end-poles serve also as signaling platforms, allowing bidirectional exchange of diverse signals along the supracellular domains of longitudinal cell files. It is proposed that these actively remodeled end-poles of elongating plant cells remotely resemble neuronal synapses.

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