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The ordered arrangement of cortical microtubules in growing plant cells is essential for anisotropic cell expansion and, hence, for plant morphogenesis. These arrays are dismantled when the microtubule cytoskeleton is rearranged during mitosis and reassembled following completion of cytokinesis. The reassembly of the cortical array has often been considered as initiating from a state of randomness, from which order arises at least partly through self-organizing mechanisms. However, some studies have shown evidence for ordering at early stages of array assembly. To investigate how cortical arrays are initiated in higher plant cells, we performed live-cell imaging studies of cortical array assembly in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) Bright Yellow-2 cells after cytokinesis and drug-induced disassembly. We found that cortical arrays in both cases did not initiate randomly but with a significant overrepresentation of microtubules at diagonal angles with respect to the cell axis, which coincides with the predominant orientation of the microtubules before their disappearance from the cell cortex in preprophase. In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) root cells, recovery from drug-induced disassembly was also nonrandom and correlated with the organization of the previous array, although no diagonal bias was observed in these cells. Surprisingly, during initiation, only about one-half of the new microtubules were nucleated from locations marked by green fluorescent protein-¿-tubulin complex protein2-tagged ¿-nucleation complexes (¿-tubulin ring complex), therefore indicating that a large proportion of early polymers was initiated by a noncanonical mechanism not involving ¿-tubulin ring complex. Simulation studies indicate that the high rate of noncanonical initiation of new microtubules has the potential to accelerate the rate of array repopulation.
Lindeboom, J. J., Lioutas, A., Deinum, E. E., Tindemans, S., Ehrhardt, D. W., Emons, A. M. C., & Mulder, B. (2013). Cortical microtubule arrays are initiated from a nonrandom prepattern driven by atypical microtubule initiation. Plant Physiology, 161(3), 1189-1201. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.112.204057