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J Exp Bot. 2001 Jan;52(354):173-7.

Macromolecular trafficking between Nicotiana tabacum and the holoparasite Cuscuta reflexa.

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  • 1Unit of Cell Biology, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK.


Transgenic tobacco plants expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the companion cell-specific promoter, AtSUC2, were parasitized by the holoparasite Cuscuta reflexa (dodder). GFP, moving in the translocation stream of the host, was transferred to the Cuscuta phloem via the absorbing hyphae of the parasite. An identical pattern of transfer was observed for the phloem-mobile probe, carboxyfluorescein. Following uptake by the parasite, GFP was translocated and unloaded from the Cuscuta phloem in meristematic sink tissues. Contrary to published data, these observations suggest the presence of a functional symplastic pathway between Cuscuta and its hosts, and demonstrate a considerable capacity for macromolecular exchange between plant species.

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