, Volume 161, Issue 5, pp 459-464

Kinetics of amyloplast sedimentation in gravistimulated maize coleoptiles

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Inner mesophyll cells from coleoptiles of Zea mays L. cv. Merit were fixed after varying periods of gravistimulation. A statistically significant amount (17–21%) of amyloplast sedimentation occurred in these cells after 30 s of gravistimulation. The presentation time is approx. 40 s or less. The accumulation of amyloplasts near the new lower wall shows a linear relationship to the logarithm of the gravistimulation time (r=0.92 or higher). The intercept of this line with the baseline value of amyloplasts in vertical coleoptiles indicates that the number of amyloplasts on the new lower wall begins increasing 11–15 s after the onset of gravistimulation. Direct observations of living cells confirm that many amyloplasts sediment within less than 15–30 s. These rapid kinetics are consistent with the classical statolith hypothesis of graviperception involving the sedimentation of amyloplasts to the vicinity of the new lower wall.