Cortical actin filaments at the division site of mitotic plant cells: a reconsideration of the ‘actin-depleted zone’


Author for correspondence:
Emmanuel Panteris
Tel: 2310 998908
Fax: 2310 998389


The preprophase bands of microtubules and F-actin are primary markers of the division site for most plant cells. After preprophase band breakdown, the division site has been considered to be ‘negatively’ memorized by the local absence of cortical actin filaments. However, there have been reports of cortical F-actin at the division site of mitotic plant cells, calling into question its distribution and possible role there. In this article, previous and recent data on this issue are reviewed. It is proposed that the division site of mitotic plant cells is not devoid of F-actin but is traversed by scarce cortical actin filaments. The description of the division site as an ‘actin exclusion zone’ might therefore be attributed to a failure to preserve and/or image the notoriously sensitive actin filaments. Accordingly, the ‘actin-depleted zone’ should be considered as a site with fewer actin filaments than the rest of the cortical cytoplasm. Taking into account recent molecular data on division site components, a possible role for the scarcity of cortical actin filaments in establishing a zone of minimum mobility is also proposed.