Survival of the aligned: ordering of the plant cortical microtubule array

Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Feb 5;104(5):058103. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.058103. Epub 2010 Feb 5.


The cortical array is a structure consisting of highly aligned microtubules which plays a crucial role in the characteristic uniaxial expansion of all growing plant cells. Recent experiments have shown polymerization-driven collisions between the membrane-bound cortical microtubules, suggesting a possible mechanism for their alignment. We present both a coarse-grained theoretical model and stochastic particle-based simulations of this mechanism, and we compare the results from these complementary approaches. Our results indicate that collisions that induce depolymerization are sufficient to generate the alignment of microtubules in the cortical array.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Darkness
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological