, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp 1-16

Connections and barriers between cells of Drosera tentacles in relation to their electrophysiology

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The extracellular space of tentacles of Drosera capensis L. is divided into two compartments by cuticular material between cells of an endodermoid layer and by the nonporous cuticle of the stalk and neck. The distal compartment includes the mucilaginous secretion as well as the free space of the secretory cap, since the cuticle covering the cap is perforated by numerous 0.05–0.3 μm pores. The proximal compartment includes xylem and the intercellular space of the stalk. The existence of the endodermoid partition is consistent with the observation that action potentials recorded extracellularly from the head may be positive-going while those recorded extracellularly from the stalk are negative-going. The partitioning is also consistent with the hypothesis previously proposed to explain why the amplitude of action potentials recorded from the mucilage varies as a function of the amplitude of the receptor potential.

The living cells are united by plasmodesmata. Unusually abundant plasmodesmata were observed in the walls between endodermoid cells and neck cells, between neck cells and the next row of outer stalk cells, in the end walls connecting the outer stalk cells, and the end walls connecting the inner stalk cells: these strategically located plasmodesmata presumably permit the electrotonic spread of receptor potentials and action potentials between cells.