We performed electron-microscopic examination of structural diurnal changes in the lumen of sieve tubes and the vacuolar system of corresponding companion cells and changes induced by the experimental blockage of assimilate export from the leaf by its cold-girdling. For these investigations, Cucurbita pepo L. and Helianthus annuus L. plants were used, that is, plant species from groups of symplastic and apoplastic plants, which differ in the type of companion cells and a mode of phloem terminal loading. The examinations showed the complete identity of changes in the electron texture of the sieve-tube lumens and companion-cell vacuoles in both plant species in the course of a day, when the level of assimilates changed, or after export blockage. Similar changes in the structure of the vacuolar labyrinths were stated in the companion cells under normal conditions and after cold-girdling, as related to the rate of sieve-tube loading with the vacuolar exudate. Vacuolar expansion and starch accumulation developing in response to changes in the assimilate level in the evening and after cold blockage of the assimilate export occurred in different types of cells, as dependent on their position in the symplast domains. However, the rate of the process similarly depended on the balance between assimilate synthesis and export. Synchronous changes in the texture of the sieve-tube lumen and companion-cell vacuoles were observed within each complex, but asynchronous changes occurred in different complexes. We suggested this phenomenon for recognizing the particular complexes, when they are grouped in a bundle. We observed no signs of cytoplasm or protein synthetic machinery in the sieve tubes. We concluded that the sieve-tube lumen and vacuoles of companion cells are common in nature. Similar electron texture of the images of the companion-cell vacuolar labyrinth and tube lumens, their connection through the lateral sieve fields, morphological modifications of the companion-cell vacuolar system as dependent on the activity of sieve tube loading—all of these facts imply the continuity of these transport compartments and fluxes in them and the similarity in the composition of the exudates from companion-cell vacuoles and phloem tubes.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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