Endocytosis was demonstrated in elongating cortical and epidermal root cells of Lobelia erinus using the apoplast marker lanthanum nitrate. Lanthanum treatment produced electron-dense deposits throughout the cell wall, as well as in coated and smooth vesicles, partially coated reticula, and multivesicular bodies. This labelling pattern was observed in root cells that had been ultrarapidly frozen on a copper mirror and freeze-substituted (cryofixation) or fixed by conventional transmission electron microscope (TEM) techniques. The amount of endocytosis occurring was measured by counting the number of vesicles μm−2 in root cells at various stages of development. Endocytosis occurred most in actively elongating cells, and least in mature cells, which were no longer elongating. The relationship between endocytosis and active cell wall secretion suggests that endocytosis may be acting to remove excess plasma membrane material added during exocytosis of secretory vesicles.

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