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Root cytoskeleton: its role in perception of and response to gravityWe have critically evaluated the possible functions of the plant cytoskeleton in root gravisensing and graviresponse and discussed the evidence that microtubules (MTs) and actin microfilaments (MFs) do not control differential cell growth during bending of roots. On the other hand, MF and MT networks are envisaged to participate in gravisensing because of the mechanical properties of the cytoskeletal structures that interconnect plant cell organelles with the plasma membrane. In restrained gravisensing, forces are suggested to be transmitted to membranes because large-scale gravity-dependent repositioning of organelles is effectively prevented due to the cytoskeleton-mediated anchorage of their envelopes at the plasma membrane. From the cytoskeletal point of view, we can also envisage an unrestrained gravity sensing when cytoskeletal tethers are not strong enough to preserve the tight control over distribution of organelles and the latter, if heavy enough, are allowed to sediment towards the physical bottom of cells. This situation obviously occurs in root cap statocytes because these uniquely organized cells are depleted of prominent actin MF bundles, endoplasmic MT arrays, and ER elements in their internal cytoplasm. Nevertheless, indirect evidence clearly indicates that sedimented root cap statoliths are enmeshed within fine but dynamic MF networks and that their behaviour is obviously under, at least partial, cytoskeletal control. The actomyosin-enriched domain among and around amyloplasts is proposed to increase the perception of gravity due to the grouping effect of sedimenting statoliths. Cytoskeletal links between myosin-rich statoliths, and cell peripheries well equipped with dense cortical MTs, membrane-associated cytoskeleton, as well as with ER elements, would allow efficient restrained gravisensing only at the statocyte cell cortex. As a consequence of cytoskeletal depletion in the internal statocyte cytoplasm and bulk sedimentation of large amyloplasts, restrained gravisensing is spatially restricted to the bottom of the statocyte irrespective of whether roots are vertical or horizontal. This spatial aspect allows for efficient gravisensing via amplification of gravity-induced impacts on the cellular architecture, a phenomenon which is unique to root cap statocytes.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Baluska, F.
(Institute of Botany, Slovak Academy of Sciences Bratislava, Slovak Republic)
Hasenstein, K. H.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1997
Publication Information
Publication: Planta
Volume: 203
Issue: Suppl
ISSN: 0032-0935
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Plant Biology
Non-NASA Center
Review, Academic

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