The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 203–212 | Cite as

Water relations of individual leaf cells ofMesembryanthemum crystallinum plants grown at low and high salinity

  • Joachim Rygol
  • Ulrich Zimmermann
  • Angelika Balling


The effects of saline conditions on the water relations of cells in intact leaf tissue of the facultative CAM plantMesembryanthemum crystallinum were studied using the pressure probe technique. During a 12-hr light/dark regime a maximum in turgor pressure was recorded for the mesophyll cells of salttreated (CAM) plants at the beginning of the light period followed 6 hr later by a pressure maximum in the bladder cells of the upper epidermis. In contrast, the turgor pressure in the bladder cells of the lower epidermis remained constant during light/dark regime. Turgor pressure maxima were not observed in untreated (C3) plants.

This finding strongly supports the assumption that water movement during malate accumulation and degradation in salttreated plants occurs predominantly between the mesophyll cells and the bladder cells of the upper epidermis. The necessary calculations take differences in the compartment volumes and in the elastic moduli of the cell walls (ε) of the bladder cells of the lower and upper epidermis into account.

Measurements of the kinetics of water transport showed that the half-time of water exchange for the two sorts of bladder cells were nearly identical in CAM plants and in C3 plants. The absolute values of the half-times increased by about 45% in salttreated plants (about 113 sec) compared to the control plants (78 sec). Simultaneously, the half-time of water exchange of the mesophyll cells increased by about 60% from 14 sec (untreated plants) to 22 sec (salt-exposed plants). The leaves of this plant are apparently able to closely maintain the time of propagation of short-term osmotic pressure changes over a large salinity range.

A cumulative plot of the ε data measured on both C3 and CAM plants showed that the differences between the values of the elastic moduli of bladder cells from the lower and from the upper epidermis are due to differences in volume and suggested that the intrinsic elastic properties of the differently located bladder cells of C3 and CAM plants were identical.

A cumulative plot of the hydraulic conductivity of the membrane obtained both on mesophyll and on bladder cells of salttreated and of untreated plantsvs. the individual turgor pressure yielded a relationship well-known from giant algal cells and some higher plant cells: The hydraulic conductivity increased at very low pressure, indicating that the water permeability properties of the membrane of the various cell types of C3 and CAM plants are pressure dependent, but otherwise identical.

The results suggest that a few fundamental physical relationships control the adaptation of the tissue cells to salinity.

Key Words

crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) elastic modulus hydraulic conductivity Mesembryanthemum crystallinum salt stress turgor 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Rygol
    • 1
  • Ulrich Zimmermann
    • 1
  • Angelika Balling
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für BiotechnologieWürzburgFederal Republic of Germany

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