Polarized microtubule deposition coincides with wall ingrowth formation in transfer cells of Vicia faba L. cotyledons

Matthew W. Bulbert, Christina E. Offler, David W. McCurdy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The epidermal transfer cells in developing Vicia faba L. cotyledons are highly polarized. Extensive wall ingrowths occur on their outer periclinal walls and extend part way down both anticlinal walls. This ingrowth development serves to increase the surface area of the plasma membrane and thus maximize porter-dependent uptake of sugars from the seed apoplasm. In contrast, the inner periclinal walls of these transfer cells do not form wall ingrowths. We have commenced a study of the mechanisms responsible for establishing this polarity by first analysing the microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton in developing transfer cells. Thin sections of fixed cotyledons embedded in methacrylate resin were processed for immunofluorescence microscopy using monoclonal anti-β-tubulin and counterstained with Calcofluor White to visualize wall ingrowths. In epidermal cells of young cotyledons where wall ingrowths were yet to develop, MT labelling was detected around all cortical regions of the cell. However, in cells where wall ingrowths were clearly established, MT labelling was detected almost exclusively in cortical regions adjacent to the wall ingrowths. Little, if any, MT labelling was detected on the anticlinal or inner periclinal walls of these cells. This distribution of MTs was most prominent in cells with well developed wall ingrowths. In these cells, a subpopulation of MTs were also detected emanating from the subcortex and extending towards the wall ingrowth region. The possible role of MT distribution in establishing transfer cell polarity and wall ingrowth formation is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cotyledons
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Immunofluorescence microscopy
  • Micro-tubules
  • Transfer cells
  • Vicia faba


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