THE HELICOIDAL CELL WALL AS A TIME REGISTER*

Authors

  • BRIGITTE VIAN,

    1. Laboratoire des Biomembranes et Surfaces Cellulaires Végétates, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 46 rue d'Ulm, 75230 Paris Cédex 05, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • JEAN-CLAUDE ROLAND

    1. Laboratoire des Biomembranes et Surfaces Cellulaires Végétates, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 46 rue d'Ulm, 75230 Paris Cédex 05, France
    Search for more papers by this author

  • *

    Based on a Tansley Lecture delivered at the University of Edinburgh on 25 April 1986.

Summary

Helicoidal cell walls are characterized by an oscillatory shift in the arrangement of cellulose microfibrils somewhat reminiscent of the rotating movement of the hands of a clock. The periodic movement can be sustained or perturbed. Thus, the helicoidal cell wall presents a temporal reading.

Sensitive to temporal signals, the cell wall keeps a record of cellular events and registers very small variations, storing data at a subcellular level. The present paper emphasizes some aspects of the helicoidal cell wall relevant to timekeeping, revealing its dynamics and flexibility and leading to the question of the mechanisms of its construction.

Ancillary