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Plant Physiol. 1998 Dec;118(4):1525-32.

Carbohydrates in individual cells of epidermis, mesophyll, and bundle sheath in barley leaves with changed export or photosynthetic rate

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales, United Kingdom (O.A.K., J.F.F., A.D.T.).


Carbohydrate metabolism of barley (Hordeum vulgare) leaves induced to accumulate sucrose (Suc) and fructans was investigated at the single-cell level using single-cell sampling and analysis. Cooling of the root and shoot apical meristem of barley plants led to the accumulation of Suc and fructan in leaf tissue. Suc and fructan accumulated in both mesophyll and parenchymatous bundle-sheath (PBS) cells because of the reduced export of sugars from leaves under cooling and to increased photosynthesis under high photon fluence rates. The general trends of Suc and fructan accumulation were similar for mesophyll and PBS cells. The fructan-to-Suc ratio was higher for PBS cells than for mesophyll cells, suggesting that the threshold Suc concentration needed for the initiation of fructan synthesis was lower for PBS cells. Epidermal cells contained very low concentrations of sugar throughout the cooling experiment. The difference in Suc concentration between control and treated plants was much less if compared at the single-cell level rather than the whole-tissue level, suggesting that the vascular tissue contains a significant proportion of total leaf Suc. We discuss the importance of analyzing complex tissues at the resolution of individual cells to assign molecular mechanisms to phenomena observed at the whole-plant level.

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