Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 343–376 | Cite as

Electron microscopy of the endophyte ofAlnus glutinosa

  • J. H. Becking
  • Willemina E. de Boer
  • A. L. Houwink


Earlier light microscopic investigations have revealed that the endophyte ofAlnus glutinosa presents itself in three different forms. In the present study this is confirmed by electron microscopy; also, new data on the cytology of the endophyte have been obtained.

The host cells are primarily infected by the hyphal form of the endophyte. A plant cell nucleus and mitochondria can be found in the infected host cells.

In the majority of the infected cells, so-called vesicles develop at the tips of the hyphae. Electron micrographs show that these vesicles, as well as the hyphae, are surrounded by the host-cell cytoplasmic membrane. The endophyte cytoplasm inside the vesicles is divided in all directions by cross walls, many of which are incomplete. Plasmalemmosomes are conspicuous. Some vesicles look vigorous but others shrunken or nearly devoid of cytoplasm as if being digested.

A minority of host cells situated between the vesicle-containing ones are completely filled by bacteria-like cells. These host cells, in contrast to the other ones, do not contain a nucleus nor mitochondria, nor are the endophyte cells in them enveloped by a host cell cytoplasmic membrane: these host cells are dead. Vesicles are not found in these cells.

It is inferred that a living host cell exerts a stimulus on the endophyte to which the latter responds by forming vesicles at the tips of the hyphae. At a later stage the host cells digest the vesicles and the hyphae. On the other hand, if a host cell does not survive the infection, the hyphae divide into bacteria-like cells, which are not digested owing to the absence of host cytoplasm.

According to the cytology of the hyphae, the endophyte is an actinomycete.

The cytology of the endophyte needs further elucidation. Its plasmalemmosomes, or membranous bodies connected with the cytoplasmic membrane, are beautifully developed. The striated bodies described on p. 359 under 4) may be a new feature, which may turn up in other actinomycetes or bacteria.


Electron Microscopy Plant Cell Host Cell Infected Cell Electron Micrographs 
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Copyright information

© Swets & Zeitlinger 1964

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Becking
    • 1
    • 2
  • Willemina E. de Boer
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. L. Houwink
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of MicrobiologyAgricultural UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Laboratory of MicrobiologyTechnological UniversityDelftThe Netherlands

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