, Volume 138, Issue 3, pp 279-294

Leaf structure in relation to solute transport and phloem loading in Zea mays L.

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Abstract

Small and intermediate (longitudinal) vascular bundles of the Zea mays leaf are surrounded by chlorenchymatous bundle sheaths and consist of one or two vessels, variable numbers of vascular parenchyma cells, and two or more sieve tubes some of which are associated with companion cells. Sieve tubes not associated with companion cells have relatively thick walls and commonly are in direct contact with the vessels. The thick-walled sieve tubes have abundant cytoplasmic connections with contiguous vascular parenchyma cells; in contrast, connections between vascular parenchyma cells and thin-walled sieve tubes are rare. Connections are abundant, however, between the thin-walled sieve tubes and their companion cells; the latter have few connections with the vascular parenchyma cells. Plasmolytic studies on leaves of plants taken directly from lighted growth chambers gave osmotic potential values of about-18 bars for the companion cells and thin-walled sieve tubes (the companion cell-sieve tube complexes) and about-11 bars for the vascular parenchyma cells. Judging from the distribution of connections between various cell types of the vascular bundles and from the osmotic potential values of those cell types, it appears that sugar is actively accumulated from the apoplast by the companion cell-sieve tube complex, probably across the plasmalemma of the companion cell. The thick-walled sieve tubes, with their close spatial association with the vessels and possession of plasmalemma tubules, may play a role in retrieval of solutes entering the leaf apoplast in the transpiration stream. The transverse veins have chlorenchymatous bundle sheaths and commonly contain a single vessel and sieve tube. Parenchymatic elements may or may not be present. Like the thick-walled sieve tubes of the longitudinal bundles, the sieve tubes of the transverse veins have plasmalemma tubules, indicating that they too may play a role in retrieval of solutes entering the leaf apoplast in the transpiration stream.