Organelle movement in plant cells is highly dynamic yet can appear erratic. Movement and positioning changes in response to external stimuli suggesting it confers an adaptive response to light and pathogen attack. Synthetically increasing or decreasing the speed of all organelles effects cell size. Organelle movement is therefore important for growth, development and in response to external stimuli. Reengineering dynamics could therefore have profound effects and implications on the global grand challenge of producing plant resources for the growing population.
Movement is mainly governed by two broad principles, actin and myosin regulation, and physical interaction between organelles. Interaction may be required for inter-organellar communication. Sparkes’ research group takes a holistic approach to characterising organelle dynamics by studying both of these broad principles. Here, I will discuss our current level of understanding in plants, and how application of optical tweezers is revolutionising our understanding of organelle interactions.