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Plant Cell. 1996 Apr;8(4):645-658.

Modification of a Specific Class of Plasmodesmata and Loss of Sucrose Export Ability in the sucrose export defective1 Maize Mutant.

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Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.


We report on the export capability and structural and ultrastructural characteristics of leaves of the sucrose export defective1 (sed1; formerly called sut1) maize mutant. Whole-leaf autoradiography was combined with light and transmission electron microscopy to correlate leaf structure with differences in export capacity in both wild-type and sed1 plants. Tips of sed1 blades had abnormal accumulations of starch and anthocyanin and distorted vascular tissues in the minor veins, and they did not export sucrose. Bases of sed1 blades were structurally identical to those of the wild type and did export sucrose. Electron microscopy revealed that only the plasmodesmata at the bundle sheath-vascular parenchyma cell interface in sed1 minor veins were structurally modified. Aberrant plasmodesmal structure at this critical interface results in a symplastic interruption and a lack of phloem-loading capability. These results clarify the pathway followed by photosynthates, the pivotal role of the plasmodesmata at the bundle sheath-vascular parenchyma cell interface, and the role of the vascular parenchyma cells in phloem loading.

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