Calcium movement, graviresponsiveness and the structure of columella cells and columella tissues in roots of Allium cepa L.

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Abstract

Roots of Allium cepa L. cv. Yellow are differentially responsive to gravity. Long (e.g. 40 mm) roots are strongly graviresponsive, while short (e.g. 4 mm) roots are minimally responsive to gravity. Although columella cells of graviresponsive roots are larger than those of nongraviresponsive roots, they partition their volumes to cellular organelles similarly. The movement of amyloplasts and nuclei in columella cells of horizontally-oriented roots correlates positively with the onset of gravicurvature. Furthermore, there is no significant difference in the rates of organellar redistribution when graviresponsive and nongraviresponsive roots are oriented horizontally. The more pronounced graviresponsiveness of longer roots correlates positively with (1) their caps being 9.6 times more voluminous, (2) their columella tissues being 42 times more voluminous, (3) their caps having 15 times more columella cells, and (4) their columella tissues having relative volumes 4·4 times larger than those of shorter, nongraviresponsive roots. Graviresponsive roots that are oriented horizontally are characterized by a strongly polar movement of 45Ca2+ across the root tip from the upper to the lower side, while similarly oriented nongraviresponsive roots exhibit only a minimal polar transport of 45Ca2+. These results indicate that the differential graviresponsiveness of roots of A. cepa is probably not due to either (1) ultrastructural differences in their columella cells, or (2) differences in the rates of organellar redistribution when roots are oriented horizontally. Rather, these results indicate that graviresponsiveness may require an extensive columella tissue, which, in turn, may be necessary for polar movement of 45Ca2+ across the root tip.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-187
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Botany
Volume56
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 1985

Keywords

  • Allium cepa
  • Calcium
  • Columella cell
  • Columella tissue
  • Gravitropism
  • Onion
  • Root
  • Ultrastructure

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