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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2010;61:705-20. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.043008.092042.

Directional gravity sensing in gravitropism.

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1
Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Nara, Japan. mimorita@bs.naist.jp

Abstract

Plants can reorient their growth direction by sensing organ tilt relative to the direction of gravity. With respect to gravity sensing in gravitropism, the classic starch statolith hypothesis, i.e., that starch-accumulating amyloplast movement along the gravity vector within gravity-sensing cells (statocytes) is the probable trigger of subsequent intracellular signaling, is widely accepted. Several lines of experimental evidence have demonstrated that starch is important but not essential for gravity sensing and have suggested that it is reasonable to regard plastids (containers of starch) as statoliths. Although the word statolith means sedimented stone, actual amyloplasts are not static but instead possess dynamic movement. Recent studies combining genetic and cell biological approaches, using Arabidopsis thaliana, have demonstrated that amyloplast movement is an intricate process involving vacuolar membrane structures and the actin cytoskeleton. This review covers current knowledge regarding gravity sensing, particularly gravity susception, and the factors modulating the function of amyloplasts for sensing the directional change of gravity. Specific emphasis is made on the remarkable differences in the cytological properties, developmental origins, tissue locations, and response of statocytes between root and shoot systems. Such an approach reveals a common theme in directional gravity-sensing mechanisms in these two disparate organs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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