The Cytoskeleton

by Jaideep Mathur

Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences,
University of Guelph. ON N1G 2W1 Canada.

RFP-MAP4 labeled Microtubules interact with GFP-mTalin labeled actin Microfilament at the cell cortex.

The cytoskeleton, an arrangement of fibrous polymers that lies appressed to the membranes of a cell and constitutes a major receiver as well as transducer of diverse environmental signals. In a plant cell, the cytoskeleton, through the action of numerous interacting proteins also acts as a constantly readjusting system of scaffolds, and serves as a set of dynamic rails for motor-protein aided motility of organelles. Though not proven so far, the polymerization of cytoskeletal elements might also have a role in organelle and vesicle movement.

Microtubules and actin microfilaments are recognized as the two major cytoskeletal systems in higher plants. We owe a large proportion of our knowledge on the plant cytoskeleton to excellent studies carried out using the time-consuming and skill-involving technique of microinjection. Since 1998 a number of FP-based probes have been developed for visualization of cytoskeletal elements and are discussed in the sections on Microtubules and on The Actin Cytoskeleton by Elison Blancaflor.