Cortical actin filaments fragment and aggregate to form chloroplast-associated and free F-actin rings in mechanically isolated Zinnia mesophyll cells

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Changes in F-actin organization following mechanical isolation of Zinnia mesophyll cells were documented by rhodamine-phalloidin staining. Immediately after isolation, most cells contained irregular cortical actin fragments of varying lengths, and less than 5% of cells contained intact cortical filaments. During the first 8 h of culture, filament fragments were replaced by actin rings, stellate actin aggregates, and bundled filament fragments. Some of these aggregates had no association with organelles ("free" actin aggregates). Other aggregates were associated with chloroplasts, which changed in shape and location at the same time actin aggregates appeared. F-actin was concentrated within or around the nucleus in a small percentage of cells. After 12 h in culture, the percentage of cells with free actin rings and chloroplast-associated actin aggregates began to decline and the percentage of cells having intact cortical actin filaments increased greatly. Intermediate images were recorded that strongly indicate that free actin rings, chloroplast-associated actin rings, and other actin aggregates self-assemble by successive bundling of actin filament fragments. The fragmentation and bundling of F-actin observed in mechanically isolated Zinnia cells resembles changes in F-actin distribution reported after diverse forms of cell disturbance and appears to be an example of a generalized response of the actin cytoskeleton to cell stress.

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