• Microtubule diameters;
  • Protofilaments;
  • EM observations;
  • Lipotubuloids;
  • Ornithogalum umbellatum


Microtubules in lipotubuloids of the Ornithogalum umbellatum stipule epidermis cells change their diameters depending on the motion of the cytoplasmic domains rich in microtubules and lipid bodies. Microtubules fixed during rotary and progressive motion of the lipotubuloids composed of the same number of protofilaments fall into two populations – wide (43–58 nm) and narrow (24–39 nm) in size. Following blockage of the motion with 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), the range of this diversity is smaller, microtubules become a medium-sized population (34–48 nm). When DNP is removed and the motion reactivated, 2 populations of microtubules reappear. Analysis of the structure of the microtubule wall revealed that changes in the microtubule diameters resulted from varying distances between the adjacent protofilaments, and stretching and compression of tubulin subunits in the protofilaments.

A supposition has been put forward that the changes in the sizes of O. umbellatum microtubule diameters: 1) are connected with the interactions between microtubules and actin microfilaments lying along these microtubules; 2) can be the driving force of the rotary motion of lipotubuloids.