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Plant J. 2009 Apr;58(1):13-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03760.x. Epub 2008 Dec 29.

The timely deposition of callose is essential for cytokinesis in Arabidopsis.

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Technische Universität München, Botanik, Am Hochanger 4, D-85354 Freising, Germany.


The primary plant cell wall is laid down over a brief period of time during cytokinesis. Initially, a membrane network forms at the equator of a dividing cell. The cross-wall is then assembled and remodeled within this membrane compartment. Callose is the predominant luminal component of the nascent cross-wall or cell plate, but is not a component of intact mature cell walls, which are composed primarily of cellulose, pectins and xyloglucans. Widely accepted models postulate that callose comprises a transient, rapid spreading force for the expansion of membrane networks during cytokinesis. In this study, we clone and characterize an Arabidopsis gene, MASSUE/AtGSL8, which encodes a putative callose synthase. massue mutants are seedling-lethal and have a striking cytokinesis-defective phenotype. Callose deposition was delayed in the cell plates of massue mutants. Mutant cells were occasionally bi- or multi-nucleate, with cell-wall stubs, and we frequently observed gaps at the junction between cross-walls and parental cell walls. The results suggest that the timely deposition of callose is essential for the completion of plant cytokinesis. Surprisingly, confocal analysis revealed that the cell-plate membrane compartment forms and expands, seemingly as far as the parental wall, prior to the appearance of callose. We discuss the possibility that callose may be required to establish a lasting connection between the nascent cross-wall and the parental cell wall.

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