The role of the cytoskeleton in the regulation of chloroplast motility and positioning has been investigated by studying: (1) structural relationship of actin microfilaments, microtubules, and chloroplasts in cryofixed and freeze-substituted leaf cells of Arabidopsis; and (2) the effects of anti-actin (Latrunculin B; LAT-B) and anti-microtubule (Oryzalin) drugs on intracellular distribution of chloroplasts. Immunolabeling of leaf cells with two plant-actin specific antibodies, which react equivalently with all the expressed Arabidopsis actins, revealed two arrangements of actin microfilaments: longitudinal arrays of thick actin bundles and randomly oriented thin actin filaments that extended from the bundles. Chloroplasts were either aligned along the actin bundles or closely associated with the fine filaments. Baskets of actin microfilaments were also observed around the chloroplasts. The leaf cells labeled with an anti-tubulin antibody showed dense transverse arrays of cortical microtubules that exhibited no apparent association with chloroplasts. The application of LAT-B severely disrupted actin filaments and their association with chloroplasts. In addition, LAT-B induced aberrant aggregation of chloroplasts in the mesophyll and bundle sheath cells. Double labeling of LAT-B treated cells with anti-actin and anti-tubulin antibodies revealed that the microtubules in these cells were unaffected. Moreover, depolymerization of microtubules with Oryzalin did not affect the distribution of chloroplasts. These results provide evidence for the involvement of actin, but not tubulin, in the movement and positioning of chloroplasts in leaf cells. We propose that using motor molecules, some chloroplasts migrate along the actin cables directly, while others are pulled along the cables by the fine actin filaments. The baskets of microfilaments may anchor the chloroplasts during streaming and allow control over proper three-dimensional orientation to light.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.