Plant cell polarity as the nexus of tissue mechanics and morphogenesis

Vera Gorelova, Joris Sprakel, Dolf Weijers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


How reproducible body patterns emerge from the collective activity of individual cells is a key question in developmental biology. Plant cells are encaged in their walls and unable to migrate. Morphogenesis thus relies on directional cell division, by precise positioning of division planes, and anisotropic cellular growth, mediated by regulated mechanical inhomogeneity of the walls. Both processes require the prior establishment of cell polarity, marked by the formation of polar domains at the plasma membrane, in a number of developmental contexts. The establishment of cell polarity involves biochemical cues, but increasing evidence suggests that mechanical forces also play a prominent instructive role. While evidence for mutual regulation between cell polarity and tissue mechanics is emerging, the nature of this bidirectional feedback remains unclear. Here we review the role of cell polarity at the interface of tissue mechanics and morphogenesis. We also aim to integrate biochemistry-centred insights with concepts derived from physics and physical chemistry. Lastly, we propose a set of questions that will help address the fundamental nature of cell polarization and its mechanistic basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1548-1559
Number of pages12
JournalNature Plants
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2021


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