Cell surface expansion in polarly growing root hairs of Medicago truncatula

S. L. Shaw, J. Dumais, S. R. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Fluorescent microspheres were used as material markers to investigate the relative rates of cell surface expansion at the growing tips of Medicago truncatula root hairs. From the analysis of tip shape and microsphere movements, we propose three characteristic zones of expansion in growing root hairs. The center of the apical dome is an area of 1- to 2-μm diameter with relatively constant curvature and high growth rate. Distal to the apex is a more rapidly expanding region 1 to 2 μm in width exhibiting constant surges of off-axis growth. This middle region forms an annulus of maximum growth rate and is visible as an area of accentuated curvature in the tip profile. The remainder of the apical dome is characterized by strong radial expansion anisotropy where the meridional rate of expansion falls below the radial expansion rate. Data also suggest possible meridional contraction at the juncture between the apical dome anti the cell body. The cell cylinder distal to the tip expands slightly over time, but only around the circumference. These data for surface expansion in the legume root hair provide new insight into the mechanism of tip growth and the morphogenesis of the root hair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-969
Number of pages11
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


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