Polarity is an inherent feature of almost all prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. In most eukaryotic cells, growth polarity is due to the assembly of actin-based growing domains at particular locations on the cell periphery. A contrasting scenario is that growth polarity results from the establishment of non-growing domains, which are actively maintained at opposite end-poles of the cell. This latter mode of growth is common in rod-shaped bacteria and, surprisingly, also in the majority of plant cells, which elongate along the apical-basal axes of plant organs. The available data indicate that the non-growing end-pole domains of plant cells are sites of intense endocytosis and recycling. These actin-enriched end-poles serve also as signaling platforms, allowing bidirectional exchange of diverse signals along the supracellular domains of longitudinal cell files. It is proposed that these actively remodeled end-poles of elongating plant cells remotely resemble neuronal synapses.
Copyright 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.