The preprophase band of microtubules controls the robustness of division orientation in plants

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Science  14 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6334, pp. 186-189
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal3016

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Refined understanding of the preprophase band

Because plant cells do not move, plant tissues are constructed according to how they place the divisions of their constituent cells. Schaefer et al. found a mutation in the model plant Arabidopsis that abolishes a visible precursor of cell division, the preprophase band. Despite loss of the band—previously thought essential to define the division plane—the general orientations of cell division planes in the roots of these plants were normal. However, individual division orientations showed more variance than normal. Thus, the preprophase band serves to focus and refine the final orientation of the nascent cell division plane.

Science, this issue p. 186


Controlling cell division plane orientation is essential for morphogenesis in multicellular organisms. In plant cells, the future cortical division plane is marked before mitotic entry by the preprophase band (PPB). Here, we characterized an Arabidopsis trm (TON1 Recruiting Motif) mutant that impairs PPB formation but does not affect interphase microtubules. Unexpectedly, PPB disruption neither abolished the capacity of root cells to define a cortical division zone nor induced aberrant cell division patterns but rather caused a loss of precision in cell division orientation. Our results advocate for a reassessment of PPB function and division plane determination in plants and show that a main output of this microtubule array is to limit spindle rotations in order to increase the robustness of cell division.

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