, Volume 212, Issue 3–4, pp 174–185 | Cite as

A plasmolytic cycle: The fate of cytoskeletal elements

  • I. Lang-Pauluzzi
  • B. E. S. Gunning


In most plant cells, transfer to hypertonic solutions causes osmotic loss of water from the vacuole and detachment of the living protoplast from the cell wall (plasmolysis). This process is reversible and after removal of the plasmolytic solution, protoplasts can re-expand to their original size (deplasmolysis). We have investigated this phenomenon with special reference to cytoskeletal elements in onion inner epidermal cells. The main processes of plasmolysis seem to be membrane dependent because destabilization of cytoskeletal elements had only minor effects on plasmolysis speed and form. In most cells, the array of cortical microtubules is similar to that found in nonplasmolyzed states except that longitudinal patterns seen in some control cells were never observed in plasmolyzed protoplasts of onion inner epidermis. As soon as deplasmolysis starts, cortical microtubules become disrupted and only slowly regenerate to form an oblique array, similar to most nontreated cells. Actin microfilaments responded rapidly to the plasmolysis-induced deformation of the protoplast and adapted to its new form without marked changes in organization and structure. Both actin microfilaments and microtubules can be present in Hechtian strands, which, in plasmolyzed cells, connect the cell wall to the protoplast. Anticytoskeletal drugs did not affect the formation of Hechtian strands.


Cytoskeleton Hechtian strands Latrunculin B Onion inner epidermis Oryzalin Plasmolysis 



differential interference contrast


3,3-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Lang-Pauluzzi
    • 1
  • B. E. S. Gunning
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Plant PhysiologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Plant Cell Biology Group, Research School of Biological SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberra

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