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Plant J. 2013 Jul;75(2):339-49. doi: 10.1111/tpj.12227. Epub 2013 Jun 12.

Cytoskeleton-dependent endomembrane organization in plant cells: an emerging role for microtubules.

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MSU-Department of Energy-Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, 612 Wilson Road, East Lansing, MI 48824-1312, USA.


Movement of secretory organelles is a fascinating yet largely mysterious feature of eukaryotic cells. Microtubule-based endomembrane and organelle motility utilizing the motor proteins dynein and kinesin is commonplace in animal cells. In contrast, it has been long accepted that intracellular motility in plant cells is predominantly driven by myosin motors dragging organelles and endomembrane-bounded cargo along actin filament bundles. Consistent with this, defects in the acto-myosin cytoskeleton compromise plant growth and development. Recent findings, however, challenge the actin-centric view of the motility of critical secretory organelles and distribution of associated protein machinery. In this review, we provide an overview of the current knowledge on actin-mediated organelle movement within the secretory pathway of plant cells, and report on recent and exciting findings that support a critical role of microtubules in plant cell development, in fine-tuning the positioning of Golgi stacks, as well as their involvement in cellulose synthesis and auxin polar transport. These emerging aspects of the biology of microtubules highlight adaptations of an ancestral machinery that plants have specifically evolved to support the functioning of the acto-myosin cytoskeleton, and mark new trends in our global appreciation of the complexity of organelle movement within the plant secretory pathway.


Arabidopsis thaliana; CLASP; Nicotiana; SNX1; actin filament; characean algae; endosomal sorting; kinesin; microtubule; myosin

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