Abiotic stress, such as salinity, drought, and cold, causes detrimental yield losses for all major plant crop species. Understanding mechanisms that improve plants' ability to produce biomass, which largely is constituted by the plant cell wall, is therefore of upmost importance for agricultural activities. Cellulose is a principal component of the cell wall and is synthesized by microtubule-guided cellulose synthase enzymes at the plasma membrane. Here, we identified two components of the cellulose synthase complex, which we call companion of cellulose synthase (CC) proteins. The cytoplasmic tails of these membrane proteins bind to microtubules and promote microtubule dynamics. This activity supports microtubule organization, cellulose synthase localization at the plasma membrane, and renders seedlings less sensitive to stress. Our findings offer a mechanistic model for how two molecular components, the CC proteins, sustain microtubule organization and cellulose synthase localization and thus aid plant biomass production during salt stress. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
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