Recent advances in our understanding of the molecular control of secondary cell wall (SCW) formation have shed light on
molecular mechanisms that underpin domestication traits related to wood formation. One such trait is the cellulose microfibril angle (MFA), an important wood quality determinant that varies along tree developmental phases and in response to gravitational stimulus. The cytoskeleton, mainly composed of microtubules and actin filaments, collectively contribute to plant growth and development by participating in several cellular processes, including cellulose deposition. Studies in Arabidopsis have significantly aided our understanding of the roles of microtubules in xylem cell development during which correct SCW deposition and patterning are essential to provide structural support and allow for water transport. In contrast, studies relating to SCW formation in xylary elements performed in woody trees remain elusive. In combination, the data reviewed here suggest that the cytoskeleton plays important roles in determining the exact sites of cellulose deposition, overall SCW patterning and more specifically, the alignment and orientation of cellulose microfibrils. By relating the reviewed evidence to the process of wood formation, we present a model of microtubule participation in determining MFA in woody trees forming reaction wood (RW).
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