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Experimental Approaches Used to Quantify Physical Parameters at Cellular and Subcellular Levels

Anja Geitmann
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 93, No. 10 (Oct., 2006), pp. 1380-1390
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4123121
Page Count: 11
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Experimental Approaches Used to Quantify Physical Parameters at Cellular and Subcellular Levels
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Abstract

From a mechanical point of view, plant and hyphal cells are more complex than their animal counterparts because the variety of structural components determining cellular architecture is broader. In addition to cytoskeletal elements and the plasma membrane, the cell wall and turgor pressure equip plant and hyphal cells with structures analogous to an exoskeleton and a hydroskeleton, respectively. To quantify the physical properties of plant and hyphal cells, researchers have developed a plethora of experimental methods. This review provides an overview of experimental approaches that have been used to measure turgor pressure and to determine the mechanical properties of the plant cell wall at the subcellular level. It is completed by a glimpse into the arsenal of techniques that has been used to characterize the physical properties of cytoskeletal elements. These have mostly been used on animal cells, but we hope they will find their way into plant cell research. Finally, assays and tests to measure the generation of forces by cells and subcellular structures are discussed.

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