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Electrical signalling along the phloem and its physiological responses in the maize leaf

By Joerg eFromm, Mohammad-Reza eHajirezaei, Verena Katharina Becker and Silke eLautner


To elucidate the role of electrical signalling in the phloem of maize the tips of attached leaves were stimulated by chilling and wounding. Two different signals were detected in the phloem at the middle of the leaf using the aphid stylet technique: (i) action potentials (AP) arose in the phloem after chilling; and (ii) variation potentials (VP) were evoked after wounding the leaf tip. Combined electric potential and gas exchange measurements showed that while the wound-induced VP moved rapidly towards the middle of the leaf to induce a reduction in both the net-CO2 uptake rate and the stomatal conductance, there was no response in the gas exchange to the cold-induced AP. To determine if electrical signalling had any impact on assimilate transport the middle of the leaf was exposed to 14CO2. Autoradiography of labelled assimilates provided evidence that phloem and intercellular transport of assimilates from mesophyll to bundle sheath cells was strongly reduced while the cold-induced AP moved through. In contrast, wound-induced VP did not inhibit assimilate translocation but did reduce the amount of the labelled assimilate in phloem and bundle sheath cells. Biochemical analysis revealed that callose content increased significantly in chilled leaves while starch increased in chilled but decreased in wounded leaves. The results led to the conclusion that different stimulation types incite characteristic phloem-transmitted electrical signals, each with a specific influence on gas exchange and assimilate transport

Topics: Phloem, Plasmodesmata, gas exchange, callose, action potential, assimilate translocation, Plant culture, SB1-1110
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2013
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00239
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