Dynamic microtubules and the texture of plant cell walls

Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2011;287:287-329. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-386043-9.00007-4.


The relationship between microtubules and cell-wall texture has had a fitful history in which progress in one area has not been matched by progress in the other. For example, the idea that wall texture arises entirely from self-assembly, independently of microtubules, originated with electron microscopic analyses of fixed cells that gave no clue to the ability of microtubules to reorganize. Since then, live-cell studies have established the surprising dynamicity of plant microtubules involving collisions, changes in angle, parallelization, and rotation of microtubule tracks. Combined with proof that cellulose synthases do track along shifting microtubules, this offers more realistic models for the dynamic influence of microtubules on wall texture than could have been imagined in the electron microscopic era-the era from which most ideas on wall texture originate. This review revisits the classical literature on wall organization from the vantage point of current knowledge of microtubule dynamics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Wall / ultrastructure*
  • Cellulose / metabolism
  • Cellulose / ultrastructure
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure*
  • Plant Development
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Plants / ultrastructure*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Surface Properties


  • Cellulose