Microcystin-LR induces abnormal root development by altering microtubule organization in tissue-cultured common reed (Phragmites australis) plantlets

Csaba Máthé, Dániel Beyer, Ferenc Erdodi, Zoltán Serfozo, Lóránt Székvölgyi, Gábor Vasas, Márta M-Hamvas, Katalin Jámbrik, Sándor Gonda, Andrea Kiss, Zsuzsa M Szigeti, Gyula Surányi
Aquatic Toxicology 2009 May 5, 92 (3): 122-30
Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is a heptapeptide cyanotoxin, known to be a potent inhibitor of type 1 and 2A protein phosphatases in eukaryotes. Our aim was to investigate the effect of MC-LR on the organization of microtubules and mitotic chromatin in relation to its possible effects on cell and whole organ morphology in roots of common reed (Phragmites australis). P. australis is a widespread freshwater and brackish water aquatic macrophyte, frequently exposed to phytotoxins in eutrophic waters. Reed plantlets regenerated from embryogenic calli were treated with 0.001-40 microg ml(-1) (0.001-40.2 microM) MC-LR for 2-20 days. At 0.5 microg ml(-1) MC-LR and at higher cyanotoxin concentrations, the inhibition of protein phosphatase activity by MC-LR induced alterations in reed root growth and morphology, including abnormal lateral root development and the radial swelling of cells in the elongation zone of primary and lateral roots. Both short-term (2-5 days) and long-term (10-20 days) of cyanotoxin treatment induced microtubule disruption in meristems and in the elongation and differentiation zones. Microtubule disruption was accompanied by root cell shape alteration. At concentrations of 0.5-5 microg ml(-1), MC-LR increased mitotic index at long-term exposure and induced the increase of the percentage of meristematic cells in prophase as well as telophase and cytokinesis of late mitosis. High cyanotoxin concentrations (10-40 microg ml(-1)) inhibited mitosis at as short as 2 days of exposure. The alteration of microtubule organization was observed in mitotic cells at all exposure periods studied, at cyanotoxin concentrations of 0.5-40 microg ml(-1). MC-LR induced spindle anomalies at the metaphase-anaphase transition, the formation of asymmetric anaphase spindles and abnormal sister chromatid separation. This paper reports for the first time that MC-LR induces cytoskeletal changes that lead to alterations of root architecture and development in common reed and generally, in plant cells. The MC-LR induced alterations in cells of an ecologically important aquatic macrophyte can reveal the importance of the effects of a cyanobacterial toxin in aquatic ecosystems.

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