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Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2009;277:103-35. doi: 10.1016/S1937-6448(09)77003-0.

Chapter 3. New insights into plant vacuolar structure and dynamics.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


The plant vacuole is a multifunctional organelle and is essential for plant development and growth. The most distinctive feature of the plant vacuole is its size, which usually occupies over 80-90% of the cell volume in well-developed somatic cells, and is therefore highly involved in cell growth and plant body size. Recent progress in the visualization of the vacuole, together with developments in image analysis, has revealed the highly organized and complex morphology of the vacuole, as well as its dynamics. The plant vacuolar membrane (VM) forms not only a typically large vacuole but also other structures, such as tubular structures, transvacuolar strands, bulbs, and sheets. In higher plant cells, actin microfilaments are mainly located near the VM and are involved in vacuolar shape changes with the actin-myosin systems. Most recently, microtubule-dependent regulation of vacuolar structures in moss plant cells was reported, suggesting a diversity of mechanisms regulating vacuolar morphogenesis.

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