The establishment and roles of polarity in plant development

Polarity is a fundamental aspect of development of all multicellular organisms. It plays an important role in directional cell division, the process crucial for morphogenesis of multicellular forms of life. Unfortunately, our current understanding of the how polarity is established, maintained and how it instructs cell division in plants is rather limited. My research is a part of a big project carried out in our lab aiming to address these questions.


Polarity is a crucial aspect of development of multicellular forms of life. Two types of polarity are recognised, namely, cellular polarity and planar polarity. Cellular polarity is manifested by unequal distribution of subcellular components, such as RNAs, proteins, hormones and organelles, while planar polarity is reflected by common polarity in all cells within a certain tissue or cell layer.

Polarity establishment is prerequisite for directional cell division, a process required for formation of stereotypical body patterns of multicellular organisms. The importance of directional cell division is two-fold in case of plants, because their cells are encapsulated into rigid cellulosic wall that abolishes cellular movement that contributes to morphogenesis of animals. Despite the fundamental importance of polarity in plant development, our knowledge of the machinery behind its  establishment and maintenance in plants is scarce. It also remains to be elucidated how polarity instructs cell division during body and tissue pattern formation in plants.

Aim of the project

My research aims to gain a deeper insight into the cues that instruct polarity formation. For decades regulation of developmental processes has been ascribed to biochemical signals. However, growing evidence suggests that mechanical cues along with cell and tissue geometry also play an important role in plant development. Using the model of polar SOSEKI proteins that have been recently discovered in our lab, I am addressing how tissue mechanics instructs establishment and maintenance of polarity. My research also aims to dissect the crosstalk between mechanics and cellular biochemistry during plant development.


Do you have a question about cell polarity, or would you like to join us as a student researcher? Please contact us.

Read the publications

Plant cell polarity, the interface of tissue mechanics and morphogenesis.
Gorelova V, Sprakel J, Weijers D.
Nature Plants (in revision).

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