Gravity induced changes in intracellular potentials in statocytes of cress roots

Planta. 1995 Sep;197(2):392-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00202662.


Two glass microelectrodes were inserted from opposite sides of the root cap into statocytes of Lepidium sativum L. immersed in medium with or without cytochalasin D (CD). Intracellular potentials (Eis) of statocytes were measured with reference to an earthed electrode in the bathing solution. In the absence of CD, Ei values were -160 +/- 2 mV (n = 52) in vertical roots. During the recording of Eis, the roots were tilted from the vertical by 45 degrees so that in a tilted root one electrode was on the upper side and the other on the lower side; after 5 min the roots were returned to the vertical. At approximately 64 s after tilting (lasting 5-15 s) there was a transient lowering of Ei (more negative) by an average of 4.7 mV on both the upper and lower sides (n = 52). In some cases, this decrease in Ei was preceded by a transitory increase. Returning the roots to the vertical resulted in a response similar to that obtained by tilting. In roots treated with CD at a concentration of 3 (microM for 1 h, the initial Ei was -145 +/- 2 mV (n = 43), and the lowering of Ei on position change (tilting or returning) was smaller (2.0 mV) in some statocytes (n = 50) and higher (8.1 mV) in others (n = 14) compared to control roots (without and with DMSO). A higher concentration (10 microM) of CD and longer treatment (2 h) further reduced the decrease in Ei (1.1 mV) on position change (n = 26). The observed effects of CD support the hypothesis that statoliths in statocytes are anchored by actin filaments to the plasma membrane and/or to the cortical endoplasmic reticulum. Movement of statoliths during the first step of graviperception may lead to stress changes in actin filaments, affecting the transmembrane potential and also the Ei.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brassicaceae / drug effects
  • Brassicaceae / physiology*
  • Brassicaceae / ultrastructure*
  • Cytochalasin D / pharmacology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / physiology
  • Gravitation*
  • Gravitropism / physiology*
  • Gravity Sensing / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Microelectrodes
  • Plant Root Cap / drug effects
  • Plant Root Cap / physiology*
  • Plant Root Cap / ultrastructure
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Cytochalasin D