Image of the Day: Nuclei Hoarders

When lacking certain enzymes that help plants coordinate cell division, Arabidopsis thaliana cells grow and collect multiple nuclei.

Carolyn Wilke
Feb 21, 2019
Some cells of this Arabidopsis thaliana plant contain more than one nuclei (in red).

Researchers are interrogating how plants coordinate the processes of cell division and the role of specific enzymes. Working with the roots of Arabidopsis thaliana, the scientists manipulated some plants to turn off enzymes affecting membrane composition and compared them with regular plants. 

A couple of enzymes, the PI4Kβ kinases, perform the role of controlling the fusion machinery, which coordinates protein fibers that guide cell wall materials to locales in the cell, the researchers reported yesterday (February 20) in The EMBO Journal. In mutated plants that lacked both types of PI4Kβ, some cells went haywire during cell division, growing larger and accumulating several nuclei because daughter cells didn’t successfully separate. 

F. Lin et al., “A dual role for cell plate-associated PI4Kβ in endocytosis and phragmoplast dynamics during plant somatic cytokinesis,” The EMBO Journal, doi:10.15252/embj.2018100303, 2019.