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A "Microtubule" in Plant Cell Fine Structure

M. C. Ledbetter and K. R. Porter
The Journal of Cell Biology
Vol. 19, No. 1 (Oct., 1963), pp. 239-250
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1604256
Page Count: 12
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A "Microtubule" in Plant Cell Fine Structure
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Abstract

This paper reports an electron microscope examination of the cortices of some plant cells engaged in wall formation. Previous studies of similar material fixed in OsO4 alone have disclosed discontinuities in the plasma membrane and other evidence of inadequate fixation. After glutaraldehyde, used as a fixative in this present study, the general preservation of cortical fine structure is greatly improved. This is shown, for example, by the first evidence of slender tubules, 230 to 270 A in diameter and of indeterminate length, in plant cells of this type. They have been found in the cortical regions of cells of two angiosperms and one gymnosperm, representing all the material so far studied following this method of fixation. The tubules are identical in morphology to those also observed here in the mitotic spindles of plant cells, except that the latter have a somewhat smaller diameter. It is noted that the cortical tubules are in a favored position to govern cytoplasmic streaming and to exert an influence over the disposition of cell wall materials. In this regard it may be of some significance that the tubules just beneath the surface of the protoplast mirror the orientation of the cellulose microfibrils of the adjacent cell walls.

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