Cutinsomes and lipotubuloids appear to participate in cuticle formation in Ornithogalum umbellatum ovary epidermis: EM-immunogold research

Protoplasma. 2014 Sep;251(5):1151-61. doi: 10.1007/s00709-014-0623-2. Epub 2014 Mar 14.


The outer wall of Ornithogalum umbellatum ovary and the fruit epidermis are covered with a thick cuticle and contain lipotubuloids incorporating (3)H-palmitic acid. This was earlier evidenced by selective autoradiographic labelling of lipotubuloids. After post-incubation in a non-radioactive medium, some marked particles insoluble in organic solvents (similar to cutin matrix) moved to the cuticular layer. Hence, it was hypothesised that lipotubuloids participated in cuticle synthesis. It was previously suggested that cutinsomes, nanoparticles containing polyhydroxy fatty acids, formed the cuticle. Thus, identification of the cutinsomes in O. umbellatum ovary epidermal cells, including lipotubuloids, was undertaken in order to verify the idea of lipotubuloid participation in cuticle synthesis in this species. Electron microscopy and immunogold method with the antibodies recognizing cutinsomes were used to identify these structures. They were mostly found in the outer cell wall, the cuticular layer and the cuticle proper. A lower but still significant degree of labelling was also observed in lipotubuloids, cytoplasm and near plasmalemma of epidermal cells. It seems that cutinsomes are formed in lipotubuloids and then they leave them and move towards the cuticle in epidermal cells of O. umbellatum ovary. Thus, we suggest that (1) cutinsomes could take part in the synthesis of cuticle components also in plant species other than tomato, (2) the lipotubuloids are the cytoplasmic domains connected with cuticle formation and (3) this process proceeds via cutinsomes.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Flowers / cytology
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Membrane Lipids / biosynthesis
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Ornithogalum / cytology
  • Ornithogalum / growth & development*
  • Palmitic Acid / metabolism
  • Plant Epidermis / cytology
  • Plant Epidermis / growth & development*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Membrane Lipids
  • Palmitic Acid
  • cutin