, Volume 199, Issue 3-4, pp 173-197

Covisualization in living onion cells of putative integrin, putative spectrin, actin, putative intermediate filaments, and other proteins at the cell membrane and in an endomembrane sheath

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Covisualizations with wide-field computational opticalsectioning microscopy of living epidermal cells of the onion bulb scale have evidenced two major new cellular features. First, a sheath of cytoskeletal elements clads the endomembrane system. Similar elements clad the inner faces of punctate plasmalemmal sites interpreted as plasmalemmal control centers. One component of the endomembrane sheath and plasmalemmal control center cladding is antigenicity-recognized by two injected antibodies against animal spectrin. Immunoblots of separated epidermal protein also showed bands recognized by these antibodies. Injected phalloidin identified F-actin with the same cellular distribution pattern, as did antibodies against intermediate-filament protein and other cytoskeletal elements known from animal cells. Injection of general protein stains demonstrated the abundance of endomembrane sheath protein. Second, the endomembrane system, like the plasmalemmal puncta, contains antigen recognized by an anti-β1 integrin injected into the cytoplasm. Previously, immunoblots of separated epidermal protein were shown to have a major band recognized both by this antibody prepared against a peptide representing the cytosolic region of β1 integrin and an antibody against the matrix region of β1 integrin. The latter antibody also identified puncta at the external face of protoplasts. It is proposed that integrin and associated transmembrane proteins secure the endomembrane sheath and transmit signals between it and the lumen or matrix of the endoplasmic reticulum and organellar matrices. This function is comparable to that proposed for such transmembrane linkers in the plasmalemmal control centers, which also appear to bind cytoskeleton and a host of related molecules and transmit signals between them and the wall matrix. It is at the plasmalemmal control centers that the endoplasmic reticulum, a major component of the endomembrane system, attaches to the plasma membrane.