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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Morphology of Cell Injury: An Approach to the EDIT Programme by the Use of Tobacco Pollen Tubes


Udo Kristen, Natalie Bischoff, Saskia Lisboa, Enno Schirmer, Sören Witt and Hartmut Quader

Tobacco pollen tubes were used as a standard in vitro system to investigate cell growth aberrations caused by some of the Multicentre Evaluation of In Vitro Cytotoxicity (MEIC) programme chemicals and other toxic compounds. Changes in cytoskeletal pattern were observed in the tube cells by using tubulin immunofluorescence and rhodamin–phalloidin fluorescence for the localisation of microtubules and actin filaments, respectively. Four different types of cell malformation were found: screw-like growth, isodiametric tip swelling, hook formation, and pollen grain enlargement. We suggest that these malformations resulted from an interference by the chemicals with the cytosolic calcium gradient which controls tip growth and the orientation of the pollen tube. The results may contribute to a general understanding of toxicity-based cell malformations.