Dynamic microtubules under the radial and outer tangential walls of microinjected pea epidermal cells observed by computer reconstruction

Plant J. 1995 Jan;7(1):17-23. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1995.07010017.x.


By microinjecting rhodamine-conjugated pig brain tubulin into living pea stem epidermal cells it has been possible to follow cortical microtubules beneath the outer tangential wall (OTW) as they re-orientate from a transverse to a longitudinal alignment. Earlier immunofluorescence studies on fixed material have shown that parallel cortical microtubules circumnavigate the cell forming apparently continuous arrays which are transverse, oblique or longitudinal to the cell's long axis. If the array re-orientates as a whole then microtubules along the radial walls would be expected to share the alignment of those on the tangential walls. There are, however, reports that microtubules beneath the outer tangential wall have a different orientation from microtubules at the radial cell walls, raising important questions about the construction and behaviour of the array. Using computer-rotated stacks of optical sections collected by confocal scanning laser microscopy it has been possible to display the microtubules along radial as well as tangential walls of the same microinjected cells. These observations demonstrate for living epidermal cells that when microtubules are aligned longitudinally at the outer epidermal wall they remain oblique or transverse at the radial walls. The array may not therefore re-orientate as a whole but seems to undergo re-organization on only one cell face. However, despite the differing angles between the OTW and radial walls microtubules still form patterns which at the level of the confocal microscope are continuous from one cell face to another, around the cell.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Microinjections
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure*
  • Peas / ultrastructure*
  • Seeds