Microtubule organization in root cells of Medicago truncatula during development of an arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis with Glomus versiforme

Protoplasma. 2001;217(4):154-65. doi: 10.1007/BF01283396.


The colonization of plants by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi has been shown to induce changes in cytoplasmic organization and morphology of root cells. Because of their role in a variety of cellular functions in plants, it is likely that microtubules are involved either in the signaling events leading to the establishment of the symbiosis or in changes in host cell morphology and cytoplasmic architecture. Recent studies of the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis have shown that root cortical cells reorganize their microtubules upon colonization. These studies, however, have focused primarily on the cells containing hyphal coils or arbuscules and did not include descriptions of microtubule changes in adjacent cells. To probe further into the potential role of the microtubule cytoskeleton in the establishment of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis, we examined the three-dimensional arrangement of microtubules in roots of the model legume Medicago truncatula colonized by the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus versiforme by indirect immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy. Our data show extensive remodeling of the microtubule cytoskeleton from the early stages of arbuscule development until arbuscule collapse and senescence. While confirming some of the microtubule patterns shown in other mycorrhizal systems, our results also reveal that cortical cells adjacent to those containing arbuscules or adjacent to intercellular hyphae reorganize their microtubules. This indicates that the cortical cells initiate the modification of their cytoskeleton prior to entry of the fungus and is consistent with signal exchange between the symbionts prior to fungal penetration of the cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism
  • Fungi / physiology*
  • Medicago / metabolism
  • Medicago / microbiology*
  • Medicago / physiology
  • Medicago / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Plant Lectins
  • Plant Roots / microbiology*
  • Plant Roots / ultrastructure
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Symbiosis*
  • Tubulin / metabolism
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins / metabolism
  • Xanthenes / metabolism


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Plant Lectins
  • Tubulin
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins
  • Xanthenes
  • Texas red