Effects of clinorotation and microgravity on sweet clover columella cells treated with cytochalasin D

Academic Article


  • The cytoskeleton of columella cells is believed to be involved in maintaining the developmental polarity of cells observed as a reproducible positioning of cellular organelles. It is also implicated in the transduction of gravitropic signals. Roots of sweet clover (Melilotus alba L.) seedlings were treated with a microfilament disrupter, cytochalasin D, on a slowly rotating horizontal clinostat (2 rpm). Electron micrographs of treated columella cells revealed several ultrastructural effects including repositioning of the nucleus and the amyloplasts and the formation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) whorls. However, experiments performed during fast clinorotation (55 rpm) showed an accumulation (but no whorling) of a disorganized ER network at the proximal and distal pole and a random distribution of the amyloplasts. Therefore, formation of whorls depends upon the speed of clinorotation, and the overall impact of cytochalasin D suggests the necessity of microfilaments in organelle positioning. Interestingly, a similar drug treatment performed in microgravity aboard the US Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS‐54, January 1993) caused a displacement of ER membranes and amyloplasts away from the distal plasma membrane. In the present study, we discuss the role of microfilaments in maintaining columella cell polarity and the utility of clinostats to simulate microgravity. Copyright © 1995, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hilaire E; Paulsen AQ; Brown CS; Guikema JA
  • Start Page

  • 267
  • End Page

  • 273
  • Volume

  • 95
  • Issue

  • 2