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PLoS One. 2015 Mar 5;10(3):e0118965. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118965. eCollection 2015.

Organ-level analysis of idioblast patterning in Egeria densa Planch. leaves.

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Department of Biology, Sophia University, Chiyoda, Tokyo, 102-8554, Japan.
RIKEN Nishina Center, Wako, Saitama, 351-0198, Japan.
Department of Chemistry, Biology and Marine Science, Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa, 903-0213, Japan.
Department of Biology, Sophia University, Chiyoda, Tokyo, 102-8554, Japan; RIKEN Nishina Center, Wako, Saitama, 351-0198, Japan.


Leaf tissues of plants usually contain several types of idioblasts, defined as specialized cells whose shape and contents differ from the surrounding homogeneous cells. The spatial patterning of idioblasts, particularly of trichomes and guard cells, across the leaf epidermis has received considerable attention as it offers a useful biological model for studying the intercellular regulation of cell fate and patterning. Excretory idioblasts in the leaves of the aquatic monocotyledonous plant Egeria densa produced light blue autofluorescence when irradiated with ultraviolet light. The use of epifluorescence microscopy to detect this autofluorescence provided a simple and convenient method for detecting excretory idioblasts and allowed tracking of those cells across the leaf surfaces, enabling quantitative measurement of the clustering and spacing patterns of idioblasts at the whole leaf level. Occurrence of idioblasts was coordinated along the proximal-distal, medial-lateral, and adaxial-abaxial axes, producing a recognizable consensus spatial pattern of idioblast formation among fully expanded leaves. Idioblast clusters, which comprised up to nine cells aligned along the proximal-distal axis, showed no positional bias or regularity in idioblast-forming areas when compared with singlet idioblasts. Up to 75% of idioblasts existed as clusters on every leaf side examined. The idioblast-forming areas varied between leaves, implying phenotypic plasticity. Furthermore, in young expanding leaves, autofluorescence was occasionally detected in a single giant vesicle or else in one or more small vesicles, which eventually grew to occupy a large portion of the idioblast volume as a central vacuole. Differentiation of vacuoles by accumulating the fluorescence substance might be an integral part of idioblast differentiation. Red autofluorescence from chloroplasts was not detected in idioblasts of young expanding leaves, suggesting idioblast differentiation involves an arrest in chloroplast development at a very early stage, rather than transdifferentiation of chloroplast-containing epidermal cells.

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