actin-based organelle movements

Ross Koning Koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Thu Oct 26 15:36:37 EST 1995

At  9:09 PM 10/25/95 -0700, David McCurdy wrote:
>I am setting up a third year lab practical based on analysis of the actin
>cytoskeleton in plant cells.  I am looking for a robust experimental system
>where students can observe the repositioning of organelles in response to
>light intensity.  Hopefully we can observe the basic phenomenon and also
>inhibit it with cytochalasins.
>Does anyone out there have good (or bad) experiences with a particular
>species (preferably a higher plant) that responds quickly (say within 3-5
>hours), reliably and obviously?


I have never done this kind of work, but the
Mougeotia chloroplast comes instantly to mind.
The work can be done right on a microscope by
adjusting the light intensity.  The chloroplast
responds by reorienting itself across the light
path (dim) or perpendicular to the light path
(bright).  Cytochalasin should stop either
orientation movement.  I think the movements
are in the range of minutes, not hours.

An alternative, might be to use Elodea which
has very obvious cytoplasmic streaming and
circulation patterns of chloroplasts...  The
trouble with this is that, except for the
leaf margins, the leaf is two-cells thick, so
you get some interference, even with optical

Finally, I might try some moss "leaves."  Some,
perhaps Mnium, have "blades" made of a single
layer of cells.  These have chloroplasts that
do circulate too.

Good Luck!


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