A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Riverside has found that the orientation of cell division is critical for overall plant growth. The researchers were working with a maize mutant, called tangled1, with known defects in growth and division plane orientation of cells. Division plane orientation refers to the positioning of new cell walls during division.
The team used time-lapse live cell imaging showing hundreds of hours of maize cells dividing. The time lapse allowed them to characterize a previously unknown delay during cell division stages in the mutant maize. The study clarified the relationship between growth, timely division progression, and proper division plane orientation. According to the study, delays during division do not necessarily cause growth defects, but the improper placement of new cell walls, together with delays during division causes growth defects. Therefore, division plane orientation is critical, but a potentially indirect factor for growth.
For more details, read the news release from UCR Today.
Figure: From left, normal and mutant maize plants.