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Protoplasma. 1999;209(1-2):98-104. doi: 10.1007/BF01415705.

Role of cortical microtubules in the orientation of cellulose microfibril deposition in higher-plant cells.

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Department of Integrated Biosciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan.


Cortical microtubules (MTs) have been implicated in the morphogenesis of plant cells by regulating the orientation of newly deposited cellulose microfibrils (CMFs). However, the role of MTs in oriented CMF deposition is still unclear. We have investigated the mechanism of CMF deposition with cultured tobacco protoplasts derived from taxol-treated BY-2 cells (taxol protoplasts). The BY-2 protoplasts regenerated patches of beta-l,3-glucan (callose) and fibrils of beta-l,4-glucan (cellulose). Taxol protoplasts possessed the same ordered MT arrays as material cells and regenerated CMFs with patterns almost coincidental with MTs. Electron microscopy revealed that, on the surface of cultured taxol protoplasts, each CMF bundle appeared to be deposited on each cortical MT. These results suggest that MTs may attach directly to the cellulose-synthesizing complexes, by some form of linkage, and regulate the movement of these complexes in higher-plant cells.


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