Ni2+ induces changes in the morphology of vacuoles, mitochondria and microtubules in Paxillus involutus cells


Author for correspondence: Sandra Tuszyńska Tel: +61 2 93852014 Fax: +61 2 93851558 Email:


  • • Organelles of ectomycorrhizal fungi are known to respond to changes in the extracellular environment. The response of vacuoles, mitochondria and microtubules to short-term nickel (Ni2+) exposure were investigated in hyphal tip cells of a Paxillus involutus from a heavy metal-rich soil.
  • • Vacuoles, mitochondria and microtubules were labelled with Oregon Green® 488 carboxylic acid diacetate, 3,3′-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide (DiOC6(3)) and anti-α-tubulin antibodies, respectively; hyphae were treated with NiSO4 in the range of 0–1 mmol l−1 and examined microscopically.
  • • Untreated hyphal tip cells contained tubular vacuole and mitochondrial networks. Ni2+ caused loss of organelle tubularity and severe microtubule disruption that were exposure-time and concentration dependent. Fine tubular vacuoles thickened and eventually became spherical in some hyphae, tubular mitochondria fragmented and microtubules shortened and aggregated into patches in most hyphae. Tubular vacuoles reformed on NiSO4 removal and tubular mitochondria in the presence of NiSO4 suggesting cellular detoxification.
  • • These results demonstrate that Ni2+ induces changes in organelle and microtubule morphology. Recovery of tubular organelles to pretreatment morphology after Ni2+ exposure suggests cellular detoxification of the metal ion.