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Subcellular volumes and metabolite concentrations in barley leaves

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Abstract

Metabolite concentrations in subcellular compartments from mature barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. Apex) leaves after 9 h of illumination and 5 h of darkness were determined by nonaqueous fractionation and by the stereological evaluation of cellular and subcellular volumes from light and electron micrographs. Twenty one-day-old primary leaves of barley with a total leaf volume of 902 μL per mg chlorophyll were found to be composed of 27% epidermis, 42% mesophyll cells, 6% veins, 4.5% apoplast and 23% gas space. While in epidermal cells 99% of the volume was occupied by the vacuole, mesophyll cells with an average volume of 31.3 pL consisted of 23 pL (73%) vacuole, 4.6 pL (19%) chloroplasts, 2.06 pL (6,7%) cytosol (including smaller organelles and vesicles), 0.34 pL (1%) mitochondria and 107 fL (0.34%) nucleus. The differences between leaves harvested after 9 h of illumination and after 5 h of darkness were in the size of the stromal compartment and the starch grains therein. Subcellular metabolite concentrations were calculated from the compartmental volumes and metabolite contents of the compartments as determined by nonaqueous fractionation. The amino-acid concentrations in stroma and cytosol were rather similar after 9 h of illumination and 5 h of darkness. In contrast, the vacuolar amino-acid concentrations were about one order of magnitude lower than the stroma and cytosol values, and there was a slight increase in concentration after 5 h of darkness.

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Abbreviations

Chl:

chlorophyll

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Correspondence to Hans Walter Heldt.

Additional information

The authors are grateful to Prof. M.W. Steer (Department of Botany, University College, Dublin, Ireland) for a critical appraisal of the manuscript. This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

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Winter, H., Robinson, D.G. & Heldt, H.W. Subcellular volumes and metabolite concentrations in barley leaves. Planta 191, 180–190 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00199748

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Key words

  • Amino acid concentration
  • Hordeum (leaves)
  • Metabolite compartmentation
  • Subcellular volumes