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A Mechanochemical Model Explains Interactions between Cortical Microtubules in Plants

By Jun F. Allard, J. Christian Ambrose, Geoffrey O. Wasteneys and Eric N. Cytrynbaum


Microtubules anchored to the two-dimensional cortex of plant cells collide through plus-end polymerization. Collisions can result in rapid depolymerization, directional plus-end entrainment, or crossover. These interactions are believed to give rise to cellwide self-organization of plant cortical microtubules arrays, which is required for proper cell wall growth. Although the cell-wide self-organization has been well studied, less emphasis has been placed on explaining the interactions mechanistically from the molecular scale. Here we present a model for microtubule-cortex anchoring and collision-based interactions between microtubules, based on a competition between cross-linker bonding, microtubule bending, and microtubule polymerization. Our model predicts a higher probability of entrainment at smaller collision angles and at longer unanchored lengths of plus-ends. This model addresses observed differences between collision resolutions in various cell types, including Arabidopsis cells and Tobacco cells

Topics: Cellular Biophysics and Electrophysiology
Publisher: The Biophysical Society
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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