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Keywords:

  • adaptation;
  • cell walls;
  • desiccation;
  • geophyte;
  • quiescence;
  • resurrection;
  • SDS-PAGE;
  • storage proteins

Summary

  • • 
    The annual developmental cycle of tuberous roots of Ranunculus asiaticus was studied with respect to structure and content of their cells, to understand how these roots are adapted to desiccation, high temperature and rehydration.
  • • 
    Light microscopy, histochemical analysis, and protein analyses by SDS-PAGE were employed at eight stages of annual root development.
  • • 
    During growth and maturation of the roots, cortical cells increased in size and their cell walls accumulated pectin materials in a distinct layer to the inside of the primary walls, with pits between adjoining cells. The number of starch granules and protein bodies also increased within the cells. Several discrete proteins accumulated. Following quiescence and rehydration of the roots there was a loss of starch and proteins from the cells, and cell walls decreased in thickness.
  • • 
    The resurrection geophyte R. asiaticus possesses desiccation-tolerant annual roots. They store carbon and nitrogen reserves within their cells, and pectin within the walls to support growth of the plant following summer quiescence and rehydration.