RHO GTPase of plants regulates polarized cell growth and cell division orientation during morphogenesis

Curr Biol. 2023 Jul 24;33(14):2897-2911.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2023.06.015. Epub 2023 Jun 28.


Cell polarity-broadly defined as the asymmetric distribution of cellular activities and subcellular components within a cell-determines the geometry of cell growth and division during development. RHO GTPase proteins regulate the establishment of cell polarity and are conserved among eukaryotes. RHO of plant (ROP) proteins are a subgroup of RHO GTPases that are required for cellular morphogenesis in plants. However, how ROP proteins modulate the geometry of cell growth and division during the morphogenesis of plant tissues and organs is not well understood. To investigate how ROP proteins function during tissue development and organogenesis, we characterized the function of the single-copy ROP gene of the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha (MpROP). M. polymorpha develops morphologically complex three-dimensional tissues and organs exemplified by air chambers and gemmae, respectively. Mprop loss-of-function mutants form defective air chambers and gemmae, indicating ROP function is required for tissue development and organogenesis. During air chamber and gemma development in wild type, the MpROP protein is enriched to sites of polarized growth at the cell surface and accumulates at the expanding cell plate of dividing cells. Consistent with these observations, polarized cell growth is lost and cell divisions are misoriented in Mprop mutants. We propose that ROP regulates both polarized cell growth and cell division orientation in a coordinated manner to orchestrate tissue development and organogenesis in land plants.

Keywords: Marchantia polymorpha; RHO GTPase; cell polarity; plant morphogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division
  • Marchantia* / genetics
  • Morphogenesis
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins* / genetics


  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Plant Proteins