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J Exp Bot. 2004 Dec;55(408):2559-69. Epub 2004 Oct 8.

Changes in the ascorbate metabolism of apoplastic and symplastic spaces are associated with cell differentiation.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Vegetale, Universit√† degli Studi di Bari, Via E. Orabona 4, I-70125 Bari, Italy.


Ascorbate levels and redox state, as well as the activities of the ascorbate related enzymes, have been analysed both in the apoplastic and symplastic spaces of etiolated pea (Pisum sativum L.) shoots during cellular differentiation. The ascorbate pool and the ascorbate oxidizing enzymes, namely ascorbate oxidase and ascorbate peroxidase, were present in both pea apoplast and symplast, whereas ascorbate free radical reductase and dehydroascorbate reductase were only present in the symplastic fractions. During cell differentiation the ascorbate redox enzymes changed in different ways, since a decrease in ascorbate levels, ascorbate peroxidase and ascorbate free radical reductase occurred from meristematic to differentiated cells, whereas ascorbate oxidase and dehydroascorbate reductase increased. The activity of secretory peroxidases has also been followed in the apoplast of meristematic and differentiating cells. These peroxidases increased their activity during differentiation. This behaviour was accompanied by changes in their isoenzymatic profiles. The analysis of the kinetic characteristics of the different peroxidases present in the apoplast suggests that the presence of ascorbate and ascorbate peroxidase in the cell wall could play a critical role in regulating the wall stiffening process during cell differentiation by interfering with the activity of secretory peroxidases.

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