A mechanochemical model explains interactions between cortical microtubules in plants

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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. © 2010 by the Biophysical Society.




Allard, J. F., Ambrose, J. C., Wasteneys, G. O., & Cytrynbaum, E. N. (2010). A mechanochemical model explains interactions between cortical microtubules in plants. Biophysical Journal, 99(4), 1082–1090. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2010.05.037

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