Organelle Sedimentation in Gravitropic Roots of Limnobium is Restricted to the Elongation Zone
AbstractAbstract Roots of the aquatic angiosperm Limnobium spongia (Bosc) Steud. were evaluated by light and electron microscopy to determine the distribution of organelle sedimentation towards gravity. Roots of Limnobium are strongly gravitropic. The rootcap consists of only two layers of cells. Although small amyloplasts are present in the central cap cells, no sedimentation of any organelle, including amyloplasts, was found. In contrast, both amyloplasts and nuclei sediment consistently and completely in cells of the elongation zone. Sedimentation occurs in one cell layer of the cortex just outside the endodermis. Sedimentation of both amyloplasts and nuclei begins in cells that are in their initial stages of elongation and persists at least to the level of the root where root hairs emerge. This is the first modern report of the presence of sedimentation away from, but not in, the rootcap. It shows that sedimentation in the rootcap is not necessary for gravitropic sensing in at least one angiosperm. If amyloplast sedimentation is responsible for gravitropic sensing, then the site of sensing in Limnobium roots is the elongation zone and not the rootcap. These data do not necessarily conflict with the hypothesis that sensing occurs in the cap in other roots, since Limnobium roots are exceptional in rootcap origin and structure, as well as in the distribution of organelle sedimentation. Similarly, if nuclear sedimentation is involved in gravitropic sensing, then nuclear mass would function in addition to, not instead of, that of amyloplasts.