skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

Plant science research team including SLCU’s Helariutta reveals a missing link in plant transport

last modified Jun 22, 2017 12:39 PM
Plant science research team including SLCU’s Helariutta reveals a missing link in plant transport

Diagrams showing different plasmodesmata connecting protophloem sieve elements to surrounding cells and size-dependent phloem unloading of solutes and macromolecules.

Phloem is celebrated for its role in moving the products of photosynthesis from ‘source’ tissues, e.g. leaves, through the plant body-plan to ‘sink’ tissues, e.g. roots. Despite this central role in plant physiology, the photosynthate delivery interface between the phloem and the surrounding sink tissues is not well characterised. Recently, a collaborative effort spearheaded by the Knoblauch [Washington State University] and Oparka [University of Edinburgh] labs and involving the Helariutta lab [SLCU] shed light on this interface. The team showed that a specific cell type, the phloem pole pericycle cells, which are adjacent to the long-distance transport cells of the phloem, have an important role in mediating the unloading of photosynthates in root tips. The unloading occurs through specialized cell-cell connections the authors dubbed "funnel plasmodesmata" that have a high capacity to deliver small molecules and proteins from the phloem long-distance transport cells to the phloem pole pericycle cells. A real surprise of this investigation was the compactness of the unloading zone in the phloem. Limited to only 5-10 long-distance transport cells, it seems that plants deliver to root tips the sugars and other compounds needed for growth through a very small gateway. The full work is published in the open access Journal eLife and is accessible here https://elifesciences.org/articles/24125.

 

 

RSS Feed Latest news

Beyond Arabidopsis – Pioneering microscopy techniques and Botanic Garden expertise reveal the inner workings of Saxifraga plants

Jun 14, 2017

New research reveals the science behind a silver lining – SLCU researchers and CU Botanic Garden staff combine forces to discover the how and why behind the Saxifraga’s silver-white crust.

SLCU gets ready for the Festival of Plants

May 16, 2017

Can we improve crop photosynthesis to feed the world sustainably? A lecture by Prof Steve Long as well as tours, talks and activities mark SLCU's involvement in the upcoming Festival of Plants on 20 May.

How to become a giant cell? Fluctuations in a key regulator guide cell size in flower organs.

Mar 06, 2017

A key regulator has been discovered to determine cell size in flowers through random fluctuations. Counterintuitively, this randomness can lead to patterns. This finding helps us to understand how biological patterns are initiated, how shape and size are determined during growth, and may lead to important discoveries improving crop yields.

Ottoline Leyser honoured with the 2017 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award

Jan 09, 2017

EMBO and FEBS announce SLCU Director Professor Ottoline Leyser as the recipient of the tenth FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award.

View all news

SLCU Logo