Endoplasmic reticulum in developing seeds of Vicia faba : A high voltage electron microscope study

Planta. 1979 Jan;146(1):63-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00381256.


The changes in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) morphology during seed development have been followed using a thick section electron microscope technique. The tissues were stained with a zinc iodineosmium tetroxide complex which preferentially accumulated in the lumen between double membranes. Sections up to 2 μm in thickness were examined in a high voltage electron microscope (HVEM) with tilt facility to produce stereo pairs. The micrographs from HVEM showed an increase in the extent of interconnecting tubular and cisternal ER during the protein deposition phase of seed maturation with subsequent degeneration of the cisternae to a reticular form during the final seed maturation phase. No evidence of cisternal ER vesicles was found, instead our work suggests that such structures are artefacts of thin sectioning with the so-called vesicles representing the interconnection of cisternal and tubular ER. The results are discussed with reference to the transport of storage protein from its site of synthesis, the rough cisternal ER, to that of accumulation, the vacuolar protein bodies.