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Contact: Deborah Williams-Hedges
California Institute of Technology

Pressure and Structure Responsible for Pavement Cells Unusual Shape

Caption: Caltech researchers studied the supportive microtubule arrangement in the tissue of pavement cells from the first leaves -- or cotyledons -- of a young Arabidopsis thaliana plant (pictured). By fluorescently marking the cells' microtubules (yellow, top surface of cell; purple, bottom surface of cell), the researchers could image the cell's structural arrangement -- and watch how this arrangement changed over time. They could also watch the microtubule modifications that occurred due to changes in the mechanical forces experienced by the cells. The unusual shape of the pavement cell represents a state of balance -- an individual cell's tug-of-war to maintain structural integrity while also dynamically responding to the pushes and pulls of mechanical stress.

Credit: Arun Sampathkumar et. al/Caltech

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Related news release: For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

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