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Plant Cell. 1997 Aug;9(8):1381-1396.

Phloem Unloading in Sink Leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana: Comparison of a Fluorescent Solute with a Fluorescent Virus.

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

Abstract

Using noninvasive imaging techniques, we compared phloem unloading of the membrane-impermeant, fluorescent solute carboxyfluorescein (CF) with that of potato virus X expressing the gene for the green fluorescent protein. Although systemic virus transport took considerably longer to occur than did CF transport, unloading of both solute and virus occurred predominantly from the class III vein network, a highly branched veinal system found between class II veins. The minor veins (classes IV and V) played no role in solute or virus import but were shown to be functional in xylem transport at the time of import by labeling with Texas Red dextran. After virus exit from the class III phloem, the minor veins eventually became infected by cell-to-cell virus movement from the mesophyll. During the sink/source transition, phloem unloading of CF was inhibited from class III veins before the cessation of phloem import through them, suggesting a symplastic isolation of the phloem in class III veins before its involvement in export. The progression of the sink/source transition for carbon was unaffected by the presence of the virus in the sink leaf. However, the virus was unable to cross the sink/source boundary for carbon that was present at the time of viral entry, suggesting a limited capacity for cell-to-cell virus movement into the apical (source) region of the leaf. A functional model of the sink/source transition in Nicotiana benthamiana is presented. This model provides a framework for the analysis of solute and virus movement in leaves.

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