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Research article2021Peer reviewed

Solving the Puzzle of Shape Regulation in Plant Epidermal Pavement Cells

Liu, Sijia; Jobert, Francois; Rahneshan, Zahra; Doyle, Siamsa M.; Robert, Stephanie


The plant epidermis serves many essential functions, including interactions with the environment, protection, mechanical strength, and regulation of tissue and organ growth. To achieve these functions, specialized epidermal cells develop into particular shapes. These include the intriguing interdigitated jigsaw puzzle shape of cotyledon and leaf pavement cells seen in many species, the precise functions of which remain rather obscure. Although pavement cell shape regulation is complex and still a long way from being fully understood, the roles of the cell wall, mechanical stresses, cytoskeleton, cytoskeletal regulatory proteins, and phytohormones are becoming clearer. Here, we provide a review of this current knowledge of pavement cell morphogenesis, generated from a wealth of experimental evidence and assisted by computational modeling approaches. We also discuss the evolution and potential functions of pavement cell interdigitation. Throughout the review, we highlight some of the thought-provoking controversies and creative theories surrounding the formation of the curious puzzle shape of these cells.


epidermis; pavement cell; cell shape; cell wall; cytoskeleton; auxin

Published in

Annual Review of Plant Biology
2021, Volume: 72, pages: 525-550
eISBN: 978-0-8243-0672-4