, Volume 83, Issue 1, pp 17–27 | Cite as

Development and enzyme activity of protein bodies in proteinoplasts of tobacco root cells

  • E. L. Vigil
  • M. Ruddat


The development of protein bodies in proteinoplasts of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. var. Wis. 38) roots was investigated with TEM, HVEM, and enzyme cytochemistry. These plastids contain a three-dimensional network of fenestrated tubules which originate from invaginations of the inner membrane of the plastid envelope. Elaboration of the network occurs in parallel with cell differentiation: slender tubules common to plastids in meristematic cells undergo dilation as protein accumulates during cell differentiation; proteinoplasts of vacuolate and root cap cells usually contain a large protein body. The contents of the peripheral tubules, originating from the inner membrane, are less electron dense than the tubules making up the central network. Localized dilations within the tubular network result in the formation of dense spheroidal structures, protein bodies, apparently as a result of continued protein accumulation via tubules connecting to the central network. Protein might be imported from segments of rough ER attached to or apposed to the outer membrane of the proteinoplast envelope.

The presence of catalase (E.C. 1.11. 1.6), peroxidase (E.C., and cytochrome oxidase (E.C. was demonstrated by cytochemistry with diaminobenzidine (DAB) as substrate. Oxidized DAB was found in protein bodies after incubation in each of the specific reaction media. While aminotriazole and sodium azide inhibited oxidation of DAB by catalase and peroxidase, respectively, only potassium cyanide completely inhibited oxidation of DAB in protein bodies. We conclude that protein bodies of proteinoplasts in tobacco roots are not sites for storage of protein, rather protein bodies contain heme protein(s) with strong oxidase activity that may convey a specific function to proteinoplasts.


Sodium Azide Protein Body Central Network Potassium Cyanide Aminotriazole 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations used




cytochrome oxidase




endoplasmic reticulum




high voltage electron microscopy








protein body








rough endoplasmic reticulum


ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase








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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. L. Vigil
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Ruddat
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of HorticultureUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and Department of BiologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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