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.

 

 

 

 

Supported by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation

Tweet of the Week

Follow @Edwige_M & #TeamHibiscus on Twitter.

RSS Feed Latest news

Hinchingbrooke School solves botanical crime scene

Nov 15, 2019

We were delighted to welcome Sixth Form students from Hinchingbrooke School to SLCU this week to meet our scientists and solve a botanic-inspired crime.

Mix of LCOs and COs essential for mycorrhizal establishment

Nov 07, 2019

An international collaboration of scientists working to optimise arbuscular mycorrhizal associations to improve sustainability in agriculture has demonstrated new insights into how signalling pathways promote symbiotic microbial associations with plants.

Revealing the nanostructure of wood could help raise height limits for wooden skyscrapers

Oct 22, 2019

Cambridge researchers have captured the visible nanostructure of wood in its live hydrated state for the first time using an advanced low-temperature scanning electron microscope.

View all news