Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Non-uniformities in the metabolism of excised leaves and leaf discs

  • 24 Accesses

  • 17 Citations


In intact tobacco and Chinese-cabbage (Brassica pekinensis) leaves an “ageing” process begins as soon as the leaves are excised. The terminal few millimetres of the petiole increasingly preempt materials such as phosphate and uracil taken up by the leaf. Actinomycin D treatment blocks this process and leads to increased uptake of such materials into the lamina.

Immediately after excision there is a radial “geographical” gradient, in the ability of excised leaf discs to accumulate phosphate and uracil from solution. Tissue near the cut edge accumulates much more of these materials than that near the centre, and total nucleic acids isolated from the outer zone have a higher specific activity.

Over the first day after excision there is a marked increase in this ability of the outer tissue of discs to accumulate labelled precursors but the changes taking place with time are complex and variable. Specific activity of total nucleic acids increases somewhat less than the increased uptake of labelled precursor. Actinomycin D becomes very unevenly distributed in leaf discs floated on solutions of the drug. These various effects are of sufficient magnitude to affect the interpretation of studies using excised leaf tissues.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Anderson, J. W., Rowan, K.S.: The effect of 6-furfurylaminopurine on senescence in tobacco leaf tissue after harvest. Biochem. J. 98, 401–404 (1966).

  2. AP Rees, T.: Evidence for the widespread occurrence of induced respiration in slices of plant tissues. Aust. J. biol. Sci. 19, 981–990 (1966).

  3. Atkin, R. K., Srivastava, B. I. S.: Studies on protein synthesis by senescing and Kinetin-treated Barley leaves. Physiol. Plantarum (Cph.) 23, 304–315 (1970).

  4. Babos, P.: Rapidly labelled RNA associated with ribosomes of tobacco leaves infected with tobacco mosaic virus. Virology 39, 893–900 (1969).

  5. — Shearer, G. B.: RNA synthesis in tobacco leaves infected with tobacco mosaic virus. Virology 39, 286–295 (1969).

  6. Bacon, J. S. D., MacDonald, I. R., Knight, A. H.: The development of invertase activity in slices of the root of Beta vulgaris L. washed under aseptic conditions. Biochem. J. 94, 175–182 (1965).

  7. Bagi, G., Farkás, G. L.: On the nature of increase in ribonuclease activity in mechanically damaged tobacco leaf tissues. Phytochemistry 6, 161–169 (1967).

  8. Bieleski, R. L.: Accumulation of phosphate, sulphate, and sucrose by excised phloem tissues. Plant Physiol. 41, 447–454 (1966).

  9. Burdett A. N., Wareing, P. F.: The effect of kinetin on the incorporation of labelled orotate into various fractions of ribonucleic acid of excised radish leaf discs. Planta (Berl.) 71, 20–26 (1966).

  10. ——: The effects of Kinetin and Contaminating bacteria on the incorporation of 32P-labelled orthophosphate into various fractions of nucleic acid extracted from radish leaves. Planta (Berl.) 81, 88–96 (1968).

  11. Click, R. E., Hackett, D. P.: The role of protein and nucleic acid synthesis in the development of respiration in potato tuber slices. Proc. nat. Acad. Sci. (Wash.) 50, 243–250 (1963).

  12. Hanson, J. B., Hodges, T. K.: Uncoupling action of chloramphenicol as a basis for the inhibition of ion accumulation. Nature (Lond.) 200, 1009 (1963).

  13. Kummert, J., Semal, J.: Study of the incorporation of radioactive Uridine into virus-infected leaf fragments. Phytopath. Z. 65, 101–123 (1969).

  14. Kuraishi, S.: The effect of kinetin on protein level of Brassica leaf disks. Physiol. Plantarum (Cph.) 21, 78–83 (1968).

  15. Laflèche, D., Bové, J. M.: Sites d'incorporation de l'uridine tritieé dans les cellules du parenchyme foliaire de Brassica chinensis saines on infectées par le virus de la mosaique jaune du navet. C. R. Acad. Sci. (Paris) 266, 1839–1841 (1968).

  16. Laties, G. G. Control of respiratory quality and magnitude during development. In: Control mechanisms in respiration and fermentation (B. Wright, ed.), p. 129–155. New York: Ronald Press 1963.

  17. —: Dual mechanisms of salt uptake in relation to compartmentation and long distance transport. Ann. Rev. Plant Physiol. 20, 89–116 (1969).

  18. Leaver, C. J., Key, J. E.: Polyribosome formation and RNA synthesis during ageing of carrot-root tissue. Proc. nat. Acad. Sci. (Wash.) 57, 1338–1344 (1967).

  19. Luria, S. E., Burrous, J. W.: Hybridization between Escherichia coli and Shigella. J. Bact. 74, 461–476 (1957).

  20. Parish, R. W.: Studies on senescing Tobacco leaf disks with special reference to peroxidase. I. The effects of cutting and of inhibition of nucleic acid and protein synthesis. Planta (Berl.) 82, 1–13 (1968).

  21. Parthier, B., Malaviya, B., Mothes, K.: Effects of chloramphenicol and kinetin on uptake and incorporation of amino acids by tobacco leaf disks. Plant and Cell Physiol. 5, 401–411 (1964).

  22. Sänger, H. L., Knight, C. A.: Action of actinomycin D on RNA synthesis in healthy and virus infected tobacco leaves. Biochem. biophys. Res. Commun. 13, 455–461 (1963).

  23. Sobota, A. E., Leaver, C. J., Key, J. L.: A detailed evaluation of the possible contribution of bacteria to radioactive precursor incorporation into nucleic acids of plant tissue. Plant Physiol 43, 907–913 (1968).

  24. Srivastava, B. I. S., Ware, G.: The effect of Kinetin on nucleic acids and nucleases of excised barley leaves. Plant Physiol. 40, 62–64 (1965).

  25. Sutcliffe, J. F.: New evidence for a relationship between ion absorption and protein turnover in plant cells. Nature (Lond.) 188, 294–297 (1960).

  26. Wollgiehn, R.: Nucleic acid and protein metabolism of excised leaves. Symp. Soc. exp. Biol. 21, 231–246 (1967).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pratt, M.J., Matthews, R.E.F. Non-uniformities in the metabolism of excised leaves and leaf discs. Planta 99, 21–36 (1971). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00392117

Download citation


  • Phosphate
  • Nucleic Acid
  • Leaf Tissue
  • Uracil
  • Leaf Disc