Actin filaments control the shape of the cell structure that divides plant cells

The phragmoplast, which is normally constricted toward the center of the cell, becomes abnormally widened (blue arrows), and the shape of the cell plate is changed (orange arrowhead) when actin filaments are disrupted. Normally, the cell plate spreads from the center to the edge, but without actin filaments the dotted shapes gradually connect and form into the cell plate. The final time differs between the top and bottom frames because cell plate expansion gradually slows down when actin filaments are disrupted. Credit: Associate Professor Takumi Higaki

Using microscopic video analysis, a research group from Kumamoto University, Japan has provided deeper insight into the mechanics of plant cell division. The video reveals that the shape of phragmoplasts—cell structures that create the partition between two dividing plant cells—is controlled by actin filaments.


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