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Lütz-Meindl, U.; Luckner, M.; Andosch, A.; Wanner, G. (2016): Structural stress responses and degradation of dictyosomes in algae analysed by TEM and FIB-SEM tomography. In: Journal of Microscopy, Vol. 263, No. 2: pp. 129-141
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Abstract

Stress-induced physiological deficiencies in cells are reflected in structural, morphological and functional reactions of organelles. Although numerous investigations have focused on chloroplasts and mitochondria as main targets of different stressors in plant cells, there is insufficient information on the plant Golgi apparatus as stress sensor. By using the advantages of field emission scanning electron microscopy tomography in combination with classical ultrathin sectioning and transmission electron microscopic analyses, we provide structural evidence for common stress responses of the large and highly stable dictyosomes in the algal model system Micrasterias. Stress is induced by different metals such as manganese and lead, by starvation in 9 weeks of darkness or by inhibiting photosynthesis or glycolysis and by disturbing ionic homeostasis via KCl. For the first time a stress-induced degradation pathway of dictyosomes is described that does not follow classical autophagy but occurs by disintegration of cisternae into single membrane balls that seem to be finally absorbed by the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Comparison of the morphological features that accompany dictyosomal degradation in Micrasterias to similar reactions observed during the same stress application in Nitella indicates an ubiquitous degradation process at least in algae. As the algae investigated belong to the closest relatives of higher land plants these results may also be relevant for understanding dictyosomal stress and degradation responses in the latter phylogenetic group. In addition, this study shows that two-dimensional transmission electron microscopy is insufficient for elucidating complex processes such as organelle degradation, and that information from three-dimensional reconstructions as provided by field emission scanning electron microscopy tomography is absolutely required for a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon.