Differential distribution of ascorbic acid, peroxidase activity, and hydrogen peroxide along the root axis in Allium cepa L. and its possible relationship with cell growth and differentiation
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In this paper we show an asymmetrical distribution of apoplastic and symplastic ascorbic acid content, peroxidase activities and hydrogen peroxide along the root axis in Allium cepa L. For most of these metabolites, a marked gradient from the root apex to the onion base was observed and was different for apoplastic and symplastic compartments. In total homogenates, ascorbic acid content was higher in the zones closer to the apex and decreased towards the root base. However, an opposite pattern was observed in the apoplastic fraction. Peroxidase activities with guaiacol, ferulic acid, ascorbic acid, and coniferyl alcohol were also different depending on the evaluated zone and the fraction used (apoplastic or symplastic). In general, each activity had a specific and unique pattern. Immunodetection of peroxidase proteins in Western blots using anti-horseradish peroxidase and anti-ascorbate peroxidase antibodies revealed different bands at the different zones of the root. Hydrogen peroxide was detected by electron microscopy and was mainly found in cell walls of epidermis (or rhizodermis), meristem, and elongating cells. The number of cell walls showing hydrogen peroxide decreased dramatically towards the root base. The results suggest that the different zones of the root show specific requirements for ascorbic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Also, each fragment of the root seems to express specific peroxidase proteins. Different processes that take place at every part of the root, as cell proliferation and elongation near the root apex and gradual lignification and differentiation towards the root base are the key to explain the results.
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