pp 1–12 | Cite as

Cyclosis-mediated intercellular transmission of photosynthetic metabolites in Chara revealed with chlorophyll microfluorometry

  • Alexander A. Bulychev
Original Article


Symplastic interconnections of plant cells via perforations in adjoining cell walls (plasmodesmata) enable long-distance transport of photoassimilates and signaling substances required for growth and development. The pathways and features of intercellular movement of assimilates are often examined with fluorescent tracers whose molecular dimensions are similar to natural metabolites produced in photosynthesis. Chlorophyll fluorescence was recently found to be a sensitive noninvasive indicator of long-distance intracellular transport of physiologically produced photometabolites in characean internodes. The present work shows that the chlorophyll microfluorometry has a potential for studying the cell-to-cell transport of reducing substances released by local illumination of one internode and detected as the fluorescence increase in the neighbor internode. The method provides temporal resolution in the time frame of seconds and can be used to evaluate permeability of plasmodesmata to natural components released by illuminated chloroplasts. The results show that approximately one third of the amount of photometabolites released into the streaming cytoplasm during a 30-s pulse of local light permeates across the nodal complex with the characteristic time of ~ 10 s. The intercellular transport was highly sensitive to moderate elevations of osmolarity in the bath solution (150 mM sorbitol), which contrasts to the view that only transnodal gradients in osmolarity (and internal hydrostatic pressure) have an appreciable influence on plasmodesmal conductance. The inhibition of cell-to-cell transport was reversible and specific; the sorbitol addition had no influence on photosynthetic electron transport and the velocity of cytoplasmic streaming. The conductance of transcellular pores increased in the presence of the actin inhibitor cytochalasin d but the cell-to-cell transport was eventually suppressed due to the deceleration and cessation of cytoplasmic streaming. The results show that the permeability of plasmodesmata to low-molecular photometabolites is subject to upregulation and downregulation.


Chara Intercellular transport Plasmodesmata Long-distance communications Chlorophyll fluorescence Chloroplasts Cytoplasmic streaming Photometabolites 



Area of interest, the cell region where chlorophyll fluorescence is measured


Artificial pond water


Local light (local illumination)


pH in the outer medium near cell surface



I am grateful to Professor Ilse Foissner (Salzburg University) for the kind gift of images of Chara branchlets and stimulating discussion.

Funding information

This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 16-04-00318.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

709_2018_1344_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (200 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 199 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biophysics, Faculty of BiologyMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussia

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