Initiation of Cell Wall Pattern by a Rho- and Microtubule-Driven Symmetry Breaking

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Science  14 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6100, pp. 1333-1336
DOI: 10.1126/science.1222597

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A specifically patterned cell wall is a determinant of plant cell shape. Yet, the precise mechanisms that underlie initiation of cell wall patterning remain elusive. By using a reconstitution assay, we revealed that ROPGEF4 (Rho of plant guanine nucleotide exchange factor 4) and ROPGAP3 [ROP guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase)–activating protein 3] mediate local activation of the plant Rho GTPase ROP11 to initiate distinct pattern of secondary cell walls in xylem cells. The activated ROP11 recruits MIDD1 to induce local disassembly of cortical microtubules. Conversely, cortical microtubules eliminate active ROP11 from the plasma membrane through MIDD1. Such a mutual inhibitory interaction between active ROP domains and cortical microtubules establishes the distinct pattern of secondary cell walls. This Rho-based regulatory mechanism shows how plant cells initiate and control cell wall patterns to form various cell shapes.

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