The differential transport of amino acids into the phloem of Ricinus communis L. seedlings as shown by the analysis of sieve-tube sap

C Schobert, E Komor
Planta 1989, 177 (3): 342-9
The cotyledons of castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) act as absorption organs for amino acids, which are supplied to the medium. The analysis of the sieve-tube sap, which exudes from the cut hypocotyl, demonstrated the ability of the cotyledons to load particular amino acids into the phloem and to reject the loading of others. The sieve-tube sap of cotyledons, which were embedded in the endosperm, contained 150 mM amino acids, with 50 mM glutamine as the major amino acid, and 10-15 mM each of valine, isoleucine, lysine and arginine. Removal of the endosperm led to a drastic decline in the amino-acid content of sieve-tube sap down to 16 mM. Addition of single amino acid species to the medium increased the amino acid concentration in the sieve-tube sap in specific manner: glutamine caused the largest increase (up to 140 mM in exudate), glutamate and alanine smaller increases (up to 60 mM), and arginine the smallest. In addition, the amino acid composition of the sieve-tube sap changed, for instance, glutamine or alanine readily appeared in the sieve-tube sap upon incubation in glutamine or alanine, respectively, whereas glutamate was hardly discernible even in the case of incubation with glutamate; arginine was loaded into the sieve tubes only reluctantly. In general, glutamine and alanine accumulated four- to tenfold in the sieve tubes. The uptake of amino acids and of sucrose into the sieve tubes was interdependent: the loading of sucrose strongly reduced the amino acid concentration in the sieve-tube exudate and loading of amino acids decreased the sucrose concentration. Comparison of the concentrations of various amino acids on their way from the endosperm via the cotyledon-endosperm interface, through the cotyledons and into the sieve tubes showed that glutamine, valine, isoleucine and lysine are accumulated on this pathway, whereas glutamate and arginine are more concentrated in the cotyledons than in the sieve tubes. Obviously the phloem-loading system has a transport specificity different from that of the amino acid uptake system of the cotyledon in general and it strongly discriminates between amino acids within the cotyledons.

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