The Cytoskeleton and Root Growth Behavior

  • Laura M. Vaughn
  • Katherine L. Baldwin
  • Gengxiang Jia
  • Julian C. Verdonk
  • Allison K. Strohm
  • Patrick H. Masson
Part of the Advances in Plant Biology book series (AIPB, volume 2)


The roots of many plant species develop complex growth behaviors when germinated on hard surfaces, and scientists have learned to use this experimental set-up to study the structure and dynamics of cytoskeletal arrays. Our knowledge of the elements that lead to anisotropic cell expansion in rapidly elongating cells has increased by finding mutants with altered root growth behavior as well as observing how growth patterns change upon application of microtubule-interacting drugs. These studies have highlighted the importance of microtubule structure, microtubule-associated proteins, cell wall components, and various signaling pathways in governing a root’s shape. Here, we discuss the growth patterns roots display on hard surfaces and review several mutant studies where growth is aberrant. Many of the changes in root growth behavior can be linked directly to alterations in the placement or dynamics of the cytoskeleton, while others appear to have a more indirect impact. Observations of the growth patterns of these mutants may now be supplemented with information from studies utilizing natural variation to gain a fuller understanding of the molecular biology behind root morphology.


Elongation Zone Microtubule Dynamic Cortical Microtubule Microtubule Array Pause State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This review was made possible by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF grants IOS-0642865 and IOS-0821884 to PHM), the UW-Madison USDA Hatch program, the DOE Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and the UW-Madison Genetics Training Grant from the National Institutes of Health to LMV for her first 2 years in graduate school.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura M. Vaughn
  • Katherine L. Baldwin
  • Gengxiang Jia
  • Julian C. Verdonk
  • Allison K. Strohm
  • Patrick H. Masson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversity of Wisconsin – MadisonMadisonUSA

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