Key words:Chara (rhizoid
Gravitropic tip growth
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract. The localization of cytoplasmic free calcium and a dihydropyridine (DHP) receptor, a putative calcium channel, was recorded during the opposite graviresponses of tip-growing Chara rhizoids and Chara protonemata by using the calcium indicator Calcium Crimson and a fluorescently labeled dihydropyridine (FL-DHP). In upward (negatively gravitropically) growing protonemata and downward (positively gravitropically) growing rhizoids, a steep Ca2+ gradient and DHP receptors were found to be symmetrically localized in the tip. However, the localization of the Ca2+ gradient and DHP receptors differed considerably during the gravitropic responses upon horizontal positioning of the two cell types. During the graviresponse of rhizoids, a continuous bowing downward by differential flank growth, the Ca2+ gradient and DHP receptors remained symmetrically localized in the tip at the centre of growth. However, after tilting protonemata into a horizontal position, there was a drastic displacement of the Ca2+ gradient and FL-DHP to the upper flank of the apical dome. This displacement occurred after the apical intrusion and sedimentation of the statoliths but clearly before the change in the growth direction became evident. In protonemata, the reorientation of the growth direction started with the appearence of a bulge on that site of the upper flank which was predicted by the asymmetrically displaced Ca2+ gradient. With the upward shift of the cell tip, which is suggested to result from a statolith-induced displacement of the growth centre, the Ca2+ gradient and DHP receptors became symmetrically relocalized in the apical dome. No major asymmetrical rearrangement was observed during the following phase of gravitropic curvature which is characterized by slower rates of bending. Labeling with FL-DHP was completely inhibited by a non-fluorescently labeled dihydropyridine. From these results it is suggested that FL-DHP labels calcium channels in rhizoids and protonemata. In rhizoids, positive gravitropic curvature is caused by differential growth limited to the opposite subapical flanks of the apical dome, a process which does not involve displacement of the growth centre, the calcium gradient or calcium channels. In protonemata, however, it is proposed that a statolith-induced asymmetrical relocalization of calcium channels and the Ca2+ gradient precedes, and might mediate, the rearrangement of the centre of growth, most likely by the displacement of the Spitzenkörper, to the upper flank, which results in the negative gravitropic reorientation of the growth direction.
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