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Dynamic reorganization of microtubules and microfilaments in flax cells during the resistance response to flax rust infection

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The cytoskeleton in plant cells is a dynamic structure that can rapidly respond to extracellular stimuli. Alteration of the organization of microtubules and actin microfilaments was examined in mesophyll cells of flax, Linum usitatissimum L., during attempted infection by the flax rust fungus, Melampsora lini (Ehrenb.) Lev. Flax leaves that had been inoculated with either a compatible (yielding a susceptible reaction) or an incompatible (yielding a resistant reaction) strain of M. lini were embedded in butyl-methylmethacrylate resin; sections of this material were immunofluorescently labelled with anti-tubulin or anti-actin and examined using confocal laser scanning microscopy. In uninfected leaves, microtubules in the mesophyll cells formed a transverse array in the cell cortex. Microfilaments radiated through the cytoplasm from the nucleus. In an incompatible interaction, microtubules and microfilaments were extensively reorganized in mesophyll cells that were in contact with fungal infection hyphae or haustorial mother cells before penetration of the cell by the infection peg. After the initiation of haustorium development, microtubules disappeared from the infected cells, and growth of the haustoria ceased. In an incompatible interaction, hypersensitive cell death occurred in more than 70% of infected cells but occurred in less than 20% of cells in compatible interactions. After the infected cell had undergone hypersensitive cell death, the cytoskeleton in neighbouring cells became focused on the walls shared with the necrotic cell. In compatible interactions, reorganization of the cytoskeleton was either not observed at all or was observed much less frequently up to 48 h after inoculation.

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Correspondence to Adrienne R. Hardham.

Additional information

We thank Dr. G.J. Lawrence for providing valuable discussions and materials.

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Kobayashi, I., Kobayashi, Y. & Hardham, A.R. Dynamic reorganization of microtubules and microfilaments in flax cells during the resistance response to flax rust infection. Planta 195, 237–247 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00199684

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Key words

  • Cytoskeleton (reorganization)
  • Hypersensitive cell death
  • Linum
  • Melampsora