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Plant Signal Behav. 2012 Sep 1;7(9):1088-91. doi: 10.4161/psb.21162. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Smart pipes: the bundle sheath role as xylem-mesophyll barrier.

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The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Rehovot, Israel.


Signs of abiotic toxicity often appear first at the margins of leaves and gradually spread toward the midrib. It has been suggested that the bundle sheath tissue surrounding the shoot vascular system acts as a solute transport-regulating barrier that prevents excessive quantities of toxic ions from entering the leaf and pushes them toward the hydathodes. We examined this hypothesis by examining the distribution of toxic boron (B) in mutant Arabidopsis leaves with flooded mesophyll and comparing it with that observed in control leaves that exuded guttation drops. As opposed to the control plants, which showed classical symptoms of B toxicity (necrosis starting at the leaf margins), in the mutants, necrosis was first observed inside the leaf. We will discuss this result and how it supports the hypothesis that the bundle sheath serves as a selective barrier filtering the xylem-to-leaf radial transport flow and pushing toxic solutes toward the hydathodes.

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