Rootcap structure in wild type and in a starchless mutant of Arabidopsis

Am J Bot. 1989;76(3):454-64.


Rootcaps of the wild type (WT) and of a starchless, gravitropic mutant (TC7) of Arabidopsis thaliana L. were examined by electron microscopy to identify cellular polarities with respect to gravity. In columella cells, nuclei are located proximally, and the nuclear envelope is continuous with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) that is in turn connected to nearby plasmodesmata. Impregnation of ER with osmium ferricyanide revealed numerous contacts between columella plastids and ER in both genotypes. ER is present mostly in the outer regions of the columella protoplast except in older columella cells that are developing into peripheral cells. In vertical roots, only columella cells that are intermediate in development (story 2 cells) have a higher surface density (S) of ER in the distal compared to proximal regions of the cell. The distal but not the proximal S of the ER is constant throughout columella development. Plastids are less sedimented in TC7 columella cells compared to those of the WT. It is hypothesized that plastid contact with the ER plays a role in gravity perception in both genotypes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Arabidopsis / ultrastructure
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cell Polarity
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / physiology
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure*
  • Genotype
  • Gravitation
  • Gravitropism / genetics
  • Gravitropism / physiology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Envelope / ultrastructure
  • Plant Root Cap / cytology
  • Plant Root Cap / physiology
  • Plant Root Cap / ultrastructure*
  • Plastids / ultrastructure*
  • Starch / analysis*
  • Starch / genetics


  • Starch