Microgravity and clinorotation cause redistribution of free calcium in sweet clover columella cells

Academic Article


  • In higher plants, calcium redistribution is believed to be crucial for the root to respond to a change in the direction of the gravity vector. To test the effects of clinorotation and microgravity on calcium localization in higher plant roots, sweet clover (Melilotus alba L.) seedlings were germinated and grown for two days on a slow rotating clinostat or in microgravity on the US Space Shuttle flight STS-60. Subsequently, the tissue was treated with a fixative containing antimonate (a calcium precipitating agent) during clinorotation or in microgravity and processed for electron microscopy. In root columella cells of clinorotated plants, antimonate precipitates were localized adjacent to the cell wall in a unilateral manner. Columella cells exposed to microgravity were characterized by precipitates mostly located adjacent to the proximal and lateral cell wall. In all treatments some punctate precipitates were associated with vacuoles, amyloplasts, mitochondria, and euchromatin of the nucleus. A quantitative study revealed a decreased number of precipitates associated with the nucleus and the amyloplasts in columella cells exposed to microgravity as compared to ground controls. These data suggest that roots perceive a change in the gravitational field, as produced by clinorotation or space flights, and respond respectively differently by a redistribution of free calcium. © 1995 The Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists(JSSP).
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

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

  • 831
  • End Page

  • 837
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 5