Plant Cell Division

Actin reins in plant cell division

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Science  24 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6208, pp. 436
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6208.436-a

A leaf from a tobacco plant

PHOTO: © WAYNE HUTCHINSON/ALAMY

When plant cells divide, they must make a new cell wall between the daughter cells. Microtubules of the mitotic spindle generate a structure called the phragmoplast, which helps cells to do this. The phragmoplast directs vesicles carrying cell wall components to the cell plate: the growing disc that will physically separate the two daughter cells. Although scientists know that the protein actin aids in this process, they do not know its precise role. Wu and Bezanilla now demonstrate that the molecular motor protein myosin VIII and actin steer phragmoplast expansion during moss and tobacco cell division. Myosin VIII's motor activity along actin filaments physically pulls the growing phragmoplast toward the edges of the cell.

eLife 3, e03498 (2014).

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