Cortical microtubule arrays in the Arabidopsis seedling

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Feb;11(1):94-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2007.12.001. Epub 2008 Jan 15.


Advances in live-cell imaging technology have provided an unprecedented look at the dynamic behaviors of the plant microtubule cytoskeleton. Recent studies revisit the classic question of how plants create cell shape through the patterned construction of the cell wall. Visualization of the cellulose synthase complex traveling in the plasma membrane has brought a watershed of new information about cellulose deposition. Observation of the cellulose synthase complex tracking precisely over the underlying cortical microtubules has provided clear evidence that the microtubule array pattern serves as a spatial template for cellulose microfibril extrusion. Understanding how the microtubules are organized into specific array patterns remains a challenge, though new ideas are arising from genetic and cell biological studies. Long-term time-lapse observations of the microtubule arrays in light-grown hypocotyl cells have revealed a striking process of microtubule patterning possibly linked to the creation of polylamellate cell walls.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Cellulose / metabolism*
  • Glucosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Hypocotyl / growth & development
  • Hypocotyl / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / metabolism*


  • Cellulose
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • cellulose synthase