Reassessing the Roles of PIN Proteins and Anticlinal Microtubules During Pavement Cell Morphogenesis

Bryon Donohoe, Samuel Belteton, Megan Sawchuk, Enrico Scarpella, Daniel Szymanski

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63 Scopus Citations


The leaf epidermis is a biomechanical shell that influences the size and shape of the organ. Its morphogenesis is a multiscale process in which nanometer-scale cytoskeletal protein complexes, individual cells, and groups of cells pattern growth and define macroscopic leaf traits. Interdigitated growth of neighboring cells is an evolutionarily conserved developmental strategy. Understanding how signaling pathways and cytoskeletal proteins pattern cell walls during this form of tissue morphogenesis is an important research challenge. The cellular and molecular control of a lobed cell morphology is currently thought to involve PIN-FORMED (PIN)-type plasma membrane efflux carriers that generate subcellular auxin gradients. Auxin gradients were proposed to function across cell boundaries to encode stable offset patterns of cortical microtubules and actin filaments between adjacent cells. Many models suggest that long-lived microtubules along the anticlinal cell wall generate local cell wall heterogeneities that restrict local growth and specify the timing and location of lobe formation. Here, we used Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) reverse genetics and multivariate long-term time-lapse imaging to test current cell shape control models. We found that neither PIN proteins nor long-lived microtubules along the anticlinal wall predict the patterns of lobe formation. In fields of lobing cells, anticlinal microtubules are not correlated with cell shape and are unstable at the time scales of cell expansion. Our analyses indicate that anticlinal microtubules have multiple functions in pavement cells and that lobe initiation is likely controlled by complex interactions among cell geometry, cell wall stress patterns, and transient microtubule networks that span the anticlinal and periclinal walls.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)432-449
Number of pages18
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-70631


  • cell shape
  • microtubules
  • pavement cells


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