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Planta. 2002 Sep;215(5):770-8. Epub 2002 Jun 18.

Roles of the plasma membrane and the cell wall in the responses of plant cells to freezing.

Author information

1
Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060-0819 Japan.

Abstract

In an effort to clarify the responses of a wide range of plant cells to freezing, we examined the responses to freezing of the cells of chilling-sensitive and chilling-resistant tropical and subtropical plants. Among the cells of the plants that we examined, those of African violet ( Saintpaulia grotei Engl.) leaves were most chilling-sensitive, those of hypocotyls in mungbean [ Vigna radiata (L.) R. Wilcz.] seedlings were moderately chilling-sensitive, and those of orchid [ Paphiopedilum insigne (Wallich ex Lindl.) Pfitz.] leaves were chilling-resistant, when all were chilled at -2 degrees C. By contrast, all these plant cells were freezing-sensitive and suffered extensive damage when they were frozen at -2 degrees C. Cryo-scanning electron microscopy (Cryo-SEM) confirmed that, upon chilling at -2 degrees C, both chilling-sensitive and chilling-resistant plant cells were supercooled. Upon freezing at -2 degrees C, by contrast, intracellular freezing occurred in Saintpaulia leaf cells, frost plasmolysis followed by intracellular freezing occurred in mungbean seedling cells, and extracellular freezing (cytorrhysis) occurred in orchid leaf cells. We postulate that chilling-related destabilization of membranes might result in the loss of the ability of the plasma membrane to act as a barrier against the propagation of extracellular ice in chilling-sensitive plant cells. We also examined the role of cell walls in the response to freezing using cells in which the plasma membrane had been disrupted by repeated freezing and thawing. In chilling-sensitive Saintpaulia and mungbean cells, the cells with a disrupted plasma membrane responded to freezing at -2 degrees C by intracellular freezing. By contrast, in chilling-resistant orchid cells, as well as in other cells of chilling-resistant and freezing-resistant plant tissues, including leaves of orchard grass ( Dactylis glomerata L.), leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. and cortical tissues of mulberry ( Morus bombycis Koids.), cells with a disrupted plasma membrane responded to freezing by extracellular freezing. Our results indicate that, in the chilling-sensitive plants cells that we examined, not only the plasma membrane but also the cell wall lacked the ability to serve as a barrier against the propagation of extracellular ice, whereas in the chilling-resistant plant cells that we examined, not only the plasma membrane but also the cell wall acted as a barrier against the propagation of extracellular ice. It appears, therefore, that not only the plasma membrane but also the cell wall greatly influences the freezing behavior of plant cells.

PMID:
12244442
DOI:
10.1007/s00425-002-0814-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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