, Volume 190, Issue 1–2, pp 25–38 | Cite as

Actin in living and fixed characean internodal cells: identification of a cortical array of fine actin strands and chloroplast actin rings

  • Geoffrey O. Wasteneys
  • David A. Collings
  • Brian E. S. Gunning
  • Peter K. Hepler
  • Diedrik Menzel


We report on the novel features of the actin cytoskeleton and its development in characean internodal cells. Images obtained by confocal laser scanning microscopy after microinjection of living cells with fluorescent derivatives of F-actin-specific phallotoxins, and by modified immunofluorescence methods using fixed cells, were mutually confirmatory at all stages of internodal cell growth. The microinjection method allowed capture of 3-dimensional images of high quality even though photobleaching and apparent loss of the probes through degradation and uptake into the vacuole made it difficult to record phallotoxin-labelled actin over long periods of time. When injected at appropriate concentrations, phallotoxins affected neither the rate of cytoplasmic streaming nor the long-term viability of cells. Recently formed internodal cells have relatively disorganized actin bundles that become oriented in the subcortical cytoplasm approximately parallel to the newly established long axis and traverse the cell through transvacuolar strands. In older cells with central vacuoles not traversed by cytoplasmic strands, subcortical bundles are organized in parallel groups that associate closely with stationary chloroplasts, now in files. The parallel arrangement and continuity of actin bundles is maintained where they pass round nodal regions of the cell, even in the absence of chloroplast files. This study reports on two novel structural features of the characean internodal actin cytoskeleton: a distinct array of actin strands near the plasma membrane that is oriented transversely during cell growth and rings of actin around the chloroplasts bordering the neutral line, the zone that separates opposing flows of endoplasm.


Chara F-actin Immunofluorescence Microtubule Nitella Phalloidin 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey O. Wasteneys
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • David A. Collings
    • 1
  • Brian E. S. Gunning
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter K. Hepler
    • 3
  • Diedrik Menzel
    • 4
  1. 1.Plant Cell Biology Group, Research School of Biological SciencesThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Cooperative Research Centre for Plant SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberra
  3. 3.Biology DepartmentUniversity of MassachusettsAmherst
  4. 4.Max Planck Institute for Cell BiologyLadenburg

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