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Plant Cell. 2011 Jul;23(7):2592-605. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.087338. Epub 2011 Jul 8.

Differential regulation of cellulose orientation at the inner and outer face of epidermal cells in the Arabidopsis hypocotyl.

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Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, Unité Mixte de Recherche 1318, INRA-AgroParisTech, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique Centre de Versailles-Grignon, 78000 Versailles, France.


It is generally believed that cell elongation is regulated by cortical microtubules, which guide the movement of cellulose synthase complexes as they secrete cellulose microfibrils into the periplasmic space. Transversely oriented microtubules are predicted to direct the deposition of a parallel array of microfibrils, thus generating a mechanically anisotropic cell wall that will favor elongation and prevent radial swelling. Thus far, support for this model has been most convincingly demonstrated in filamentous algae. We found that in etiolated Arabidopsis thaliana hypocotyls, microtubules and cellulose synthase trajectories are transversely oriented on the outer surface of the epidermis for only a short period during growth and that anisotropic growth continues after this transverse organization is lost. Our data support previous findings that the outer epidermal wall is polylamellate in structure, with little or no anisotropy. By contrast, we observed perfectly transverse microtubules and microfibrils at the inner face of the epidermis during all stages of cell expansion. Experimental perturbation of cortical microtubule organization preferentially at the inner face led to increased radial swelling. Our study highlights the previously underestimated complexity of cortical microtubule organization in the shoot epidermis and underscores a role for the inner tissues in the regulation of growth anisotropy.

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