, Volume 250, Issue 1, pp 407–414 | Cite as

Inducible growth mode switches influence Valonia rhizoid differentiation

  • Paul Rommel ElviraEmail author
  • Satoko Sekida
  • Kazuo Okuda
Short Communication


Cell differentiation and cell type commitment are an integral part of plant growth and development. Investigations on how environmental conditions affect the formation of shoots, roots, and rhizoids can help illustrate how plants determine cell fate and overall morphology. In this study, we evaluated the role of substratum and light on rhizoid differentiation in the coenocytic green alga, Valonia aegagropila. Elongating rhizoids displayed varying growth modes and cell shape upon exposure to different substrata and light conditions. It was found that soft substrata and dark incubation promoted rhizoid elongation via tip growth while subsequent exposure to light prevented tip growth and instead induced swelling in the apical region of rhizoids. Swelling was accompanied by the accumulation of protoplasm in the rhizoid tip through expansion of the cell wall and uninhibited cytoplasmic streaming. Subsequent diffuse growth led to the transformation from slender, rod-shaped rhizoids into spherical thallus-like structures that required photosynthesis. Further manipulation of light regimes caused vacillating cell growth redirections. An elongating V. aegagropila rhizoid cell thus appears capable of growth mode switching that is regulated by immediate environmental conditions thereby influencing ultimate cell shape and function. This is the first description of inducible, multiple growth mode shifts in a single intact plant cell that directly impact its differentiation.


Cytoplasmic streaming Growth mode Light Rhizoid Thallus Valonia aegagropila 



We thank Dr. Ichiro Mine of Kochi University, Japan, for technical suggestions. This study was supported by the “Monbukagakusho,” Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture, Japanese Government, as part of doctoral research of P.R.E.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

Online resource 1

Formation of a bulb-tipped rhizoid from a rod-shaped V. aegagropila rhizoid and subsequent resumption of tip growth. A cell was incubated in darkness for 14 days at 22°C then exposed to 96 h continuous light at 40 μmol photons m−2 s−1 and then 24 h of continuous light at 10 μmol photons m−2 s−1. Photomicrographs were taken at 10-min intervals (MPG 2980 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Rommel Elvira
    • 1
    Email author
  • Satoko Sekida
    • 1
  • Kazuo Okuda
    • 1
  1. 1.Cell Biology Laboratory, Graduate School of Kuroshio ScienceKochi UniversityKochiJapan

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