The influence of microgravity and spaceflight on columella cell ultrastructure in starch-deficient mutants of Arabidopsis.
The ultrastructure of root cap columella cells was studied by morphometric analysis in wild-type, a reduced-starch mutant, and a starchless mutant of Arabidopsis grown in microgravity (F-microgravity) and compared to ground 1g (G-1g) and flight 1g (F-1g) controls. Seedlings of the wild-type and reduced-starch mutant that developed during an experiment on the Space Shuttle (both the F-microgravity samples and the F-lg control) exhibited a decreased starch content in comparison to the G-1g control. These results suggest that some factor associated with spaceflight (and not microgravity per se) affects starch metabolism. Elevated levels of ethylene were found during the experiments on the Space Shuttle, and analysis of ground controls with added ethylene demonstrated that this gas was responsible for decreased starch levels in the columella cells. This is the first study to use an on-board centrifuge as a control when quantifying starch in spaceflight-grown plants. Furthermore, our results show that ethylene levels must be carefully considered and controlled when designing experiments with plants for the International Space Station. (+info)
POLTERGEIST functions to regulate meristem development downstream of the CLAVATA loci.
Mutations at the CLAVATA loci (CLV1, CLV2 and CLV3) result in the accumulation of undifferentiated cells at the shoot and floral meristems. We have isolated three mutant alleles of a novel locus, POLTERGEIST (POL), as suppressors of clv1, clv2 and clv3 phenotypes. All pol mutants were nearly indistinguishable from wild-type plants; however, pol mutations provided recessive, partial suppression of meristem defects in strong clv1 and clv3 mutants, and nearly complete suppression of weak clv1 mutants. pol mutations partially suppressed clv2 floral and pedicel defects in a dominant fashion, and almost completely suppressed clv2 phenotypes in a recessive manner. These observations, along with dominant interactions observed between the pol and wuschel (wus) mutations, indicate that POL functions as a critical regulator of meristem development downstream of the CLV loci and redundantly with WUS. Consistent with this, pol mutations do not suppress clv3 phenotypes by altering CLV1 receptor activation. (+info)
Restoration of gravitropic sensitivity in starch-deficient mutants of Arabidopsis by hypergravity.
Despite the extensive study of plant gravitropism, there have been few experiments which have utilized hypergravity as a tool to investigate gravisensitivity in flowering plants. Previous studies have shown that starch-deficient mutants of Arabidopsis are less sensitive to gravity compared to the wild-type (WT). In this report, the question addressed was whether hypergravity could restore the sensitivity of starch-deficient mutants of Arabidopsis. The strains examined include a WT, a starchless mutant and a reduced-starch mutant. Vertical orientation studies with dark-grown seedlings indicate that increased centrifugal acceleration improves orientation relative to the acceleration vector for all strains, even the WT. For starchless roots, growth of seedlings under constant 5 g acceleration was required to restore orientation to the level of the WT at 1 g. In contrast, approximately 10 g was required to restore the orientation of the starchless mutant hypocotyls to a WT level at 1 g. Examination of plastid position in root cap columella cells of the starchless mutant revealed that the restoration of gravitropic sensitivity was correlated with the sedimentation of plastids toward the distal cell wall. Even in WT plants, hypergravity caused greater sedimentation of plastids and improved gravitropic capability. Collectively, these experiments support the hypothesis of a statolith-based system of gravity perception in plants. As far as is known, this is the first report to use hypergravity to study the mechanisms of gravitropism in Arabidopsis. (+info)
Root mucilage from pea and its utilization by rhizosphere bacteria as a sole carbon source.
Plant roots secrete a complex polysaccharide mucilage that may provide a significant source of carbon for microbes that colonize the rhizosphere. High molecular weight mucilage was separated by high-pressure liquid chromatography gel filtration from low molecular weight components of pea root exudate. Purified pea root mucilage generally was similar in sugar and glycosidic linkage composition to mucilage from cowpea, wheat, rice, and maize, but appeared to contain an unusually high amount of material that was similar to arabinogalactan protein. Purified pea mucilage was used as the sole carbon source for growth of several pea rhizosphere bacteria, including Rhizobium leguminosarum 8401 and 4292, Burkholderia cepacia AMMD, and Pseudomonas fluorescens PRA25. These species grew on mucilage to cell densities of three- to 25-fold higher than controls with no added carbon source, with cell densities of 1 to 15% of those obtained on an equal weight of glucose. Micromolar concentrations of nod gene-inducing flavonoids specifically stimulated mucilage-dependent growth of R. leguminosarum 8401 to levels almost equaling the glucose controls. R. leguminosarum 8401 was able to hydrolyze p-nitrophenyl glycosides of various sugars and partially utilize a number of purified plant polysaccharides as sole carbon sources, indicating that R. leguminosarum 8401 can make an unexpected variety of carbohydrases, in accordance with its ability to extensively utilize pea root mucilage. (+info)
The role of the distal elongation zone in the response of maize roots to auxin and gravity.
We used a video digitizer system to (a) measure changes in the pattern of longitudinal surface extension in primary roots of maize (Zea mays L.) upon application and withdrawal of auxin and (b) compare these patterns during gravitropism in control roots and roots pretreated with auxin. Special attention was paid to the distal elongation zone (DEZ), arbitrarily defined as the region between the meristem and the point within the elongation zone at which the rate of elongation reaches 0.3 of the peak rate. For roots in aqueous solution, the basal limit of the DEZ is about 2.5 mm behind the tip of the root cap. Auxin suppressed elongation throughout the elongation zone, but, after 1 to 3 h, elongation resumed, primarily as a result of induction of rapid elongation in the DEZ. Withdrawal of auxin during the period of strong inhibition resulted in exceptionally rapid elongation attributable to the initiation of rapid elongation in the DEZ plus recovery in the main elongation zone. Gravistimulation of auxin-inhibited roots induced rapid elongation in the DEZ along the top of the root. This resulted in rapid gravitropism even though the elongation rate of the root was zero before gravistimulation. The results indicate that cells of the DEZ differ from cells in the bulk of the elongation zone with respect to auxin sensitivity and that DEZ cells play an important role in gravitropism. (+info)
Interactions between red light, abscisic acid, and calcium in gravitropism.
The effect of red light on orthogravitropism of Merit corn (Zea mays L.) roots has been attributed to its effects on the transduction phase of gravitropism (AC Leopold, SH Wettlaufer  Plant Physiol 87:803-805). In an effort to characterize the orthogravitropic transduction system, comparative experiments have been carried out on the effects of red light, calcium, and abscisic acid (ABA). The red light effect can be completely satisfied with added ABA (100 micromolar) or with osmotic shock, which is presumed to increase endogenous ABA. The decay of the red light effect is closely paralleled by the decay of the ABA effect. ABA and exogenous calcium show strong additive effects when applied to either Merit or a line of corn which does not require red light for orthogravitropism. Measurements of the ABA content show marked increases in endogenous ABA in the growing region of the roots after red light. The interpretation is offered that red light or ABA may serve to increase the cytoplasmic concentrations of calcium, and that this may be an integral part of orthogravitropic transduction. (+info)
Springback in root gravitropism.
Conditions under which a gravistimulus of Merit corn roots (Zea mays L.) is withdrawn result in a subsequent loss of gravitropic curvature, an effect which we refer to as springback.' This loss of curvature begins within 1 to 10 minutes after removal of the gravistimulus. It occurs regardless of the presence or absence of the root cap. It is insensitive to inhibitors of auxin transport (2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid, naphthylphthalamic [correction of naphthylphthalmaic] acid) or to added auxin (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid). Springback is prevented if a clinostat treatment is interjected to neutralize gravistimulation during germination, which suggests that the change in curvature is a response to a memory' effect carried over from a prior gravistimulation. (+info)
Characterization and distribution of a maize cDNA encoding a peptide similar to the catalytic region of second messenger dependent protein kinases.
Maize (Zea mays) roots respond to a variety of environmental stimuli which are perceived by a specialized group of cells, the root cap. We are studying the transduction of extracellular signals by roots, particularly the role of protein kinases. Protein phosphorylation by kinases is an important step in many eukaryotic signal transduction pathways. As a first phase of this research we have isolated a cDNA encoding a maize protein similar to fungal and animal protein kinases known to be involved in the transduction of extracellular signals. The deduced sequence of this cDNA encodes a polypeptide containing amino acids corresponding to 33 out of 34 invariant or nearly invariant sequence features characteristic of protein kinase catalytic domains. The maize cDNA gene product is more closely related to the branch of serine/threonine protein kinase catalytic domains composed of the cyclic-nucleotide- and calcium-phospholipid-dependent subfamilies than to other protein kinases. Sequence identity is 35% or more between the deduced maize polypeptide and all members of this branch. The high structural similarity strongly suggests that catalytic activity of the encoded maize protein kinase may be regulated by second messengers, like that of all members of this branch whose regulation has been characterized. Northern hybridization with the maize cDNA clone shows a single 2400 base transcript at roughly similar levels in maize coleoptiles, root meristems, and the zone of root elongation, but the transcript is less abundant in mature leaves. In situ hybridization confirms the presence of the transcript in all regions of primary maize root tissue. (+info)