Cellulose microfibril alignment recovers from DCB-induced disruption despite microtubule disorganization


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Cellulose microfibril deposition patterns define the direction of plant cell expansion. To better understand how microfibril alignment is controlled, we examined microfibril orientation during cortical microtubule disruption using the temperature-sensitive mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana, mor1-1. In a previous study, it was shown that at restrictive temperature for mor1-1, cortical microtubules lose transverse orientation and cells lose growth anisotropy without any change in the parallel arrangement of cellulose microfibrils. In this study, we investigated whether a pre-existing template of well-ordered microfibrils or the presence of well-organized cortical microtubules was essential for the cell to resume deposition of parallel microfibrils. We first transiently disrupted the parallel order of microfibrils in mor1-1 using a brief treatment with the cellulose synthesis inhibitor 2,6-dichlorobenzonitrile (DCB). We then analysed the alignment of recently deposited cellulose microfibrils (by field emission scanning electron microscopy) as cellulose synthesis recovered and microtubules remained disrupted at the mor1-1 mutant's non-permissive culture temperature. Despite the disordered cortical microtubules and an initially randomized wall texture, new cellulose microfibrils were deposited with parallel, transverse orientation. These results show that transverse cellulose microfibril deposition requires neither accurately transverse cortical microtubules nor a pre-existing template of well-ordered microfibrils. We also demonstrated that DCB treatments reduced the ability of cortical microtubules to form transverse arrays, supporting a role for cellulose microfibrils in influencing cortical microtubule organization.