Alterations in the cytoskeleton accompany aluminum-induced growth inhibition and morphological changes in primary roots of maize

Elison B. Blancaflor, David L. Jones, Simon Gilroy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although AI is one of the major factors limiting crop production, the mechanisms of toxicity remain unknown. The growth inhibition and swelling of roots associated with AI exposure suggest that the cytoskeleton may be a target of AI toxicity. Using indirect immunofluorescence microscopy, microtubules and microfilaments in maize (Zea mays I.) roots were visualized and changes in their organization and stability correlated with the symptoms of AI toxicity. Growth studies showed that the site of Al toxicity was associated with the elongation zone. Within this region, AI resulted in a reorganization of microtubules in the inner cortex. However, the orientation of microtubules in the outer cortex and epidermis remained unchanged even after chronic symptoms of toxicity were manifest. Auxin-induced reorientation and cold-induced depolymerization of microtubules in the outer cortex were blocked by AI pretreatment. These results suggest that Al increased the stability of microtubules in these cells. The stabilizing effect of Al in the outer cortex coincided with growth inhibition. Reoriented microfilaments were also observed in Al-treated roots, and Al pretreatment minimized cytochalasin B-induced microfilament fragmentation. These data show that reorganization and stabilization of the cytoskeleton are closely associated with Al toxicity in maize roots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Physiology
Volume118
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

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