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Plant Physiol. 1999 Mar;119(3):1073-82.

Impacts of aluminum on the cytoskeleton of the maize root apex. short-term effects on the distal part of the transition zone

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Department of Plant Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai 625-021, India (M.S.).


Using monoclonal tubulin and actin antibodies, Al-mediated alterations to microtubules (MTs) and actin microfilaments (MFs) were shown to be most prominent in cells of the distal part of the transition zone (DTZ) of an Al-sensitive maize (Zea mays L.) cultivar. An early response to Al (1 h, 90 μM) was the depletion of MTs in cells of the DTZ, specifically in the outermost cortical cell file. However, no prominent changes to the MT cytoskeleton were found in elongating cells treated with Al for 1 h in spite of severe inhibition of root elongation. Al-induced early alterations to actin MFs were less dramatic and consisted of increased actin fluorescence of partially disintegrated MF arrays in cells of the DTZ. These tissue- and development-specific alterations to the cytoskeleton were preceded by and/or coincided with Al-induced depolarization of the plasma membrane and with callose formation, particularly in the outer cortex cells of the DTZ. Longer Al supplies (>6 h) led to progressive enhancements of lesions to the MT cytoskeleton in the epidermis and two to three outer cortex cell files. Our data show that the cytoskeleton in the cells of the DTZ is especially sensitive to Al, consistent with the recently proposed specific Al sensitivity of this unique, apical maize root zone.

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