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Physiol Plant. 2003 Jul;118(3):305-12.

A polarized cell: the root statocyte.

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Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Laboratoire CEMV, Paris Cedex, France.


In the gravity-perceiving cells (statocytes), located in the centre of the root cap, polarity is expressed in the arrangement of the organelles since, in most genera, the nucleus and the endoplasmic reticulum are maintained at the opposite ends of each cell by actin. Polarity is also evident in the distribution of plasmodesmata, which are more numerous in the transverse walls than in the longitudinal walls. The centre of each statocyte is depleted of microtubules (they are only located at the periphery) but is occupied by numerous amyloplasts (statoliths), denser than the cytoplasm. The amyloplasts do not contribute to the inherent structural polarity since their position is dependent upon the gravity vector. This article focuses on new microscopic analyses and on data obtained from experiments performed in microgravity, which have contributed to our better understanding of the architecture of the actin web implicated in the perception of gravity. Depending upon the plant, the actin network seems to be formed of single filaments arranged in various ways, or, of thin bundles of actin filaments. The amyloplasts are enmeshed in this web of actin and their envelopes are associated with it, but they can have autonomous movement via myosin in the absence of gravity. From calculations of the value of the force necessary to move one amyloplast in the lentil root, and from videomicroscopy performed with living statocytes of maize roots, it is hypothesized that actin microfilaments could be orientated in an overall diagonal direction in the statocyte. These observations could help in understanding how slight amyloplast movements may trigger and transmit the gravitropic signal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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