Changes in the chloroplast ultrastructure and starch and lipid content in the mesophyll and phloem companion cells of the phloem were studied after induction of source and sink functions in leaf tissues. A detached sugar-beet leaf, one half of which was treated with water (source part) and the other half of which was treated with 10–4 M benzyladenine (BA) (acceptor part), was used as a model. After 65-h exposure to diffuse light, starch disappeared and lipid content increased in the source part of the leaf, with simultaneous disorganization of the chloroplast structure, which was most pronounced in the companion cells. Changeover from the source to sink function, induced by BA treatment, did not lead to marked destructive changes in the chloroplast structure of companion cells and resulted in the appearance of starch and in further increase in the level of lipids. Smaller amounts of starch also appeared in the mesophyll chloroplasts in the sink part of the leaf. We suppose that: (1) BA promotes the storage of assimilates, which are imported from the source part of the leaf to the companion cells, in the form of starch and lipids within chloroplasts; and this storage contributes to the maintenance of the sucrose concentration gradient in the conducting system between donor and sink parts of the leaf and, thus, activates metabolite inflow and (2) a barrier exists in the sink part of the leaf for assimilates destined to mesophyll cells, which restricts their export from the phloem.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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