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Effect of Microtubule Stabilization on the Freezing Tolerance of Mesophyll Cells of Spinach

Michael E. Bartolo and John V. Carter
Plant Physiology
Vol. 97, No. 1 (Sep., 1991), pp. 182-187
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4273810
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Effect of Microtubule Stabilization on the Freezing Tolerance of Mesophyll Cells of Spinach
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Abstract

Freezing, dehydration, and supercooling cause microtubules in mesophyll cells of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L. cv Bloomsdale) to depolymerize (ME Bartolo, JV Carter, Plant Physiol [1991] 97: 175-181). The objective of this study was to determine whether the LT50 (lethal temperature: the freezing temperature at which 50% of the tissue is killed) of spinach leaf tissue can be changed by diminishing the extent of microtubule depolymerization in response to freezing. Also examined was how tolerance to the components of extracellular freezing, low temperature and dehydration, is affected by microtubule stabilization. Leaf sections of nonacclimated and cold-acclimated spinach were treated with 20 micromolar taxol, a microtubule-stabilizing compound, prior to freezing, supercooling, or dehydration. Taxol stabilized microtubules against depolymerization in cells subjected to these stresses. When pretreated with taxol both nonacclimated and cold-acclimated cells exhibited increased injury during freezing and dehydration. In contrast, supercooling did not injure cells with taxol-stabilized microtubules. Electrolyte leakage, visual appearance of the cells, or a microtubule repolymerization assay were used to assess injury. As leaves were cold-acclimated beyond the normal period of 2 weeks taxol had less of an effect on cell survival during freezing. In leaves acclimated for up to 2 weeks, stabilizing microtubules with taxol resulted in death at a higher freezing temperature. At certain stages of cold acclimation, it appears that if microtubule depolymerization does not occur during a freeze-thaw cycle the plant cell will be killed at a higher temperature than if microtubule depolymerization proceeds normally. An alternative explanation of these results is that taxol may generate abnormal microtubules, and connections between microtubules and the plasma membrane, such that normal cellular responses to freeze-induced dehydration and subsequent rehydration are blocked, with resultant enhanced freezing injury.

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