Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 218:1, April 2018

It takes a muscle…

Plants may be rooted to the spot, but they can still flex their body parts. A new Review, published in New Phytologist, describes how plants got their moves.

The colourful cover of New Phytologist 218:1 is a cross-section showing the primary and secondary phloem of a Cannabis sativa stem. These organs contain ‘G-fibres’ – specialised structures that are able to ‘contract’, contributing to the movement of plant parts in response to their environment.

Image: Primary and secondary phloem fibres with tertiary cell walls in hemp stem stained with 0.5% toluidine blue (light microscopy). Courtesy of Marina Ageeva.
Primary and secondary phloem fibres with tertiary cell walls in hemp stem stained with 0.5% toluidine blue (light microscopy). Courtesy of Marina Ageeva.

The Review by Prof. Tatyana Gorshkova, and colleagues from the Russian Academy of Sciences, describes the development of G-fibres with a tertiary cell wall, a widespread phenomenon throughout the plant kingdom. By comparing the general structure of cell walls in many different organs in various plant species, Gorshkova and colleagues unravel a basic but often overlooked mechanism for plant movement, effective in many different situations.

Read the Review: Gorshkova, T., Chernova, T., Mokshina, N., Ageeva, M. and Mikshina, P. (2018) Plant ‘muscles’: fibers with a tertiary cell wallNew Phytologist. doi: 10.1111/nph.14997


 

Mike Whitfield (@mgwhitfield)
Development Coordinator
New Phytologist