Focusing on the focus: What else beyond the master switches for polar cell growth?

Yuan Qin, Juan Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Cell polarity, often associated with polarized cell expansion/growth in plants, describes the uneven distribution of cellular components, such as proteins, nucleic acids, signaling molecules, vesicles, cytoskeletal elements, and organelles, which may ultimately modulate cell shape, structure, and function. Pollen tubes and root hairs are model cell systems for studying the molecular mechanisms underlying sustained tip growth. The formation of intercalated epidermal pavement cells requires excitatory and inhibitory pathways to coordinate cell expansion within single cells and between cells in contact. Strictly controlled cell expansion is linked to asymmetric cell division in zygotes and stomatal lineages, which require integrated processes of pre-mitotic cellular polarization and division asymmetry. While small GTPase ROPs are recognized as fundamental signaling switches for cell polarity in various cellular and developmental processes in plants, the broader molecular machinery underpinning polarity establishment required for asymmetric division remains largely unknown. Here, we review the widely used ROP signaling pathways in cell polar growth and the recently discovered feedback loops with auxin signaling and PIN effluxers. We discuss the conserved phosphorylation and phospholipid signaling mechanisms for regulating uneven distribution of proteins, as well as the potential roles of novel proteins and MAPKs in the polarity establishment related to asymmetric cell division in plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-594
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Plant
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 6 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science


  • cell expansion
  • cytoskeleton
  • polarity
  • polarity determination
  • signal transduction


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