Endocytosis and vesicle trafficking during tip growth of root hairs

Protoplasma. 2005 Oct;226(1-2):39-54. doi: 10.1007/s00709-005-0103-9. Epub 2005 Oct 20.


The directional elongation of root hairs, "tip growth", depends on the coordinated and highly regulated trafficking of vesicles which fill the tip cytoplasm and are active in secretion of cell wall material. So far, little is known about the dynamics of endocytosis in living root hairs. We analyzed the motile behaviour of vesicles in the apical region of living root hairs of Arabidopsis thaliana and of Triticum aestivum by live cell microscopy. For direct observation of endocytosis and of the fate of endocytic vesicles, we used the fluorescent endocytosis marker dyes FM 1-43 and FM 4-64. Rapid endocytosis was detected mainly in the tip, where it caused a bright fluorescence of the apical cytoplasm. The internalized membranes proceeded through highly dynamic putative early endosomes in the clear zone to larger endosomal compartments in the subapical region that are excluded from the clear zone. The internalized cargo ended up in the dynamic vacuole by fusion of large endosomal compartments with the tonoplast. Before export to these lytic compartments, putative early endosomes remained in the apical zone, where they most probably recycled to the plasma membrane and back into the cytoplasm for more than 30 min. Endoplasmic reticulum was not involved in trafficking pathways of endosomes. Actin cytoskeleton was needed for the endocytosis itself, as well as for further membrane trafficking. The actin-depolymerizing drug latrunculin B modified the dynamic properties of vesicles and endosomes; they became immobilized and aggregated in the tip. Treatment with brefeldin A inhibited membrane trafficking and caused the disappearance of FM-containing vesicles and putative early endosomes from the clear zone; labelled structures accumulated in motile brefeldin A-induced compartments. These large endocytic compartments redispersed upon removal of the drug. Our results hence prove that endocytosis occurs in growing root hairs. We show the localization of endocytosis in the tip and indicate specific endomembrane compartments and their recycling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Brefeldin A / pharmacology
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / pharmacology
  • Endocytosis / drug effects
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / drug effects
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena
  • Plant Roots / cytology
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Plant Roots / physiology
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology
  • Thiazolidines
  • Transport Vesicles / physiology*
  • Triticum / cytology
  • Triticum / growth & development


  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Thiazoles
  • Thiazolidines
  • Brefeldin A
  • latrunculin B