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Are Centrioles Found in Plant Cells?

By John Brennan
Plant cells do not have centrioles.
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Plant cells and animal cells share a common ancestor and thus many similarities. At the same time, they also exhibit fundamental differences. Unlike animal cells, for example, plant cells lack centrioles.

Centrioles

In animal cells, the centrosome serves to organize microtubules, major components of the cell's cytoskeleton, and plays an important role in cell division. The centrosome is composed of two centrioles, each of which contains nine bundles of microtubules. Microtubules are hollow cylindrical polymers of a protein called tubulin.

Misconceptions

Plant cells do not contain centrioles. Their microtubules emanate from structures or regions called microtubule-organizing centers, or MTOCs, but do not have the centrioles found in animal cells.

Significance

During cell division, centrosomes in animals act as organizing centers for the microtubules that pull the chromosomes apart, ensuring that each daughter cell receives a copy of each chromosome. Plant cells must accomplish the same task during mitosis, but they do so without centriole-containing centromeres; the microtubules emanate from other MTOCs instead.

 

About the Author

 

Based in San Diego, John Brennan has been writing about science and the environment since 2006. His articles have appeared in "Plenty," "San Diego Reader," "Santa Barbara Independent" and "East Bay Monthly." Brennan holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.