Role of endodermal cell vacuoles in shoot gravitropism

J Plant Growth Regul. 2002 Jun;21(2):113-9. doi: 10.1007/s003440010047. Epub 2002 May 24.


In higher plants, shoots and roots show negative and positive gravitropism, respectively. Data from surgical ablation experiments and analysis of starch deficient mutants have led to the suggestion that columella cells in the root cap function as gravity perception cells. On the other hand, endodermal cells are believed to be the statocytes (that is, gravity perceiving cells) of shoots. Statocytes in shoots and roots commonly contain amyloplasts which sediment under gravity. Through genetic research with Arabidopsis shoot gravitropism mutants, sgr1/scr and sgr7/shr, it was determined that endodermal cells are essential for shoot gravitropism. Moreover, some starch biosynthesis genes and EAL1 are important for the formation and maturation of amyloplasts in shoot endodermis. Thus, amyloplasts in the shoot endodermis would function as statoliths, just as in roots. The study of the sgr2 and zig/sgr4 mutants provides new insights into the early steps of shoot gravitropism, which still remains unclear. SGR2 and ZIG/SGR4 genes encode a phospholipase-like and a v-SNARE protein, respectively. Moreover, these genes are involved in vacuolar formation or function. Thus, the vacuole must play an important role in amyloplast sedimentation because the sgr2 and zig/sgr4 mutants display abnormal amyloplast sedimentation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis
  • Genes, Plant
  • Gravitropism / physiology*
  • Gravity Sensing / physiology*
  • Mutation
  • Plant Roots / cytology
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / physiology
  • Plant Shoots / cytology
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development
  • Plant Shoots / physiology*
  • Plastids / physiology*
  • Vacuoles / physiology*