Morphological and Histochemical Changes Occurring during the Life-span of Root-tip Galls on Lolium perenne Induced by Longidorus elongatus

  • B. S. Griffiths
  • W. M. Robertson


The RNA and protein content of perennial ryegrass root-tip galls induced by Longidorus elongatus were measured from transverse sections and the morphology described. Galls progressed through five distinct stages and were viable for only 10-12 days at 18 C, after which they collapsed and became necrotic. In the initial stage hypertrophy occurred and cells contained enlarged nuclei and nucleoli, a greater proportion of cytoplasm, and increased concentrations of protein. This was followed by hyperplasia; cells divided to give two or four daughter cells, accompanied by a proportionate reduction in volumes of cytoplasm, nuclei, and nucleoli and reduced concentrations of RNA and protein. The third stage was secondary hypertrophy with enlarged, amoeboid nuclei and nucleoli and a significant increase in concentration of RNA and protein. In the final two stages, as feeding by L. elongatus progressively removed cell contents, most cells were devoid of inclusions and galls collapsed and were invaded by soil bacteria. This ordered development and exploitation of galls suggests that L. elongatus may have two phases in its feeding. Key words: morphology, stereology, RNA, protein, host-parasite relationship.