, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 382–391 | Cite as

Tocopherols modulate leaf vein arrangement and composition without impacting photosynthesis

  • J. J. Stewart
  • W. W. Adams
  • C. M. Cohu
  • B. Demmig-Adams


Growth of the tocopherol-deficient vte1 mutant and Col-0 wild type of Arabidopsis thaliana in a sunlit glasshouse revealed both similarities and differences between genotypes. Photosynthetic capacity and leaf mesophyll features did not differ between mutant and wild type. Likewise, the total volume of water conduits (tracheary elements, TEs), sugar conduits (sieve elements, SEs), and sugar-loading cells (companion and phloem parenchyma cells) on a leaf area basis were unaffected by tocopherol deficiency. However, tocopherol deficiency yielded smaller and more numerous minor veins with fewer phloem cells and smaller TEs, resulting in greater ratios of TEs to SEs. The smaller TEs in the vte1 mutant may present a decreased risk for cavitation under high evaporative demand or in response to freezing. In turn, compensation for fewer phloem cells and smaller TEs by more numerous veins may bolster resistance to cavitation at no cost to photosynthetic capacity.

Additional key words

foliar vasculature leaf venation vein density vitamin E deficiency xylem 



companion cell




dry mass


phloem parenchyma cell


sieve element


tracheary element


vein density


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Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. J. Stewart
    • 1
  • W. W. Adams
    • 1
  • C. M. Cohu
    • 1
  • B. Demmig-Adams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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