The roles of the cytoskeleton during cellulose deposition at the secondary cell wall


*(fax +44 161 275 3938; e-mail


During secondary cell wall formation, developing xylem vessels deposit cellulose at specific sites on the plasma membrane. Bands of cortical microtubules mark these sites and are believed to somehow orientate the cellulose synthase complexes. We have used live cell imaging on intact roots of Arabidopsis to explore the relationship between the microtubules, actin and the cellulose synthase complex during secondary cell wall formation. The cellulose synthase complexes are seen to form bands beneath sites of secondary wall synthesis. We find that their maintenance at these sites is dependent upon underlying bundles of microtubules which localize the cellulose synthase complex (CSC) to the edges of developing cell wall thickenings. Thick actin cables run along the long axis of the cells. These cables are essential for the rapid trafficking of complex-containing organelles around the cell. The CSCs appear to be delivered directly to sites of secondary cell wall synthesis and it is likely that transverse actin may mark these sites.