, Volume 67, Issue 2–3, pp 139–163

Capsella embryogenesis: The suspensor and the basal cell

  • Patricia Schulz
  • William A. Jensen


The suspensor and basal cell ofCapsella were examined with the electron microscope and analyzed by histochemical procedures. The suspensor cells are more vacuolate and contain more ER and dictyosomes, but fewer ribosomes and stain less intensely for protein and nucleic acids than the cells of the embryo. The end walls of the suspensor cells contain numerous plasmodesmata but there are no plasmodesmata in the walls separating the suspensor from the embryo sac. The lower suspensor cells fuse with the embryo sac wall and the lateral walls of the lower and middle suspensor cells produce finger-like projections into the endosperm. At the heart stage the suspensor cells begin to degenerate and gradually lose their ability to stain for protein and nucleic acids.

The basal cell is highly vacuolate and enlarges to a size of 150μ X 70μ. An extensive network of wall projections develops on the micropylar end wall and adjacent lateral wall. The nucleus becomes deeply lobed and suspended in a strand of cytoplasm traversing the large vacuole. The cytoplasmic matrix darkens at the late globular stage and histochemical staining for protein becomes very intense. The basal cell remains active after the suspensor cytoplasm has degenerated. It is proposed that the suspensor and basal cell function as an embryonic root in the absorption and translocation of nutriments from the integuments to the developing embryo.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Schulz
    • 1
  • William A. Jensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyRosary CollegeRiver ForestUSA

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