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Gradients of Turgor, Osmotic Pressure, and Water Potential in the Cortex of the Hypocotyl of Growing Ricinus Seedlings: Effects of the Supply of Water from the Xylem and of Solutes from the Phloem

Anatoli Meshcheryakov, Ernst Steudle and Ewald Komor
Plant Physiology
Vol. 98, No. 3 (Mar., 1992), pp. 840-852
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4274178
Page Count: 13
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Gradients of Turgor, Osmotic Pressure, and Water Potential in the Cortex of the Hypocotyl of Growing Ricinus Seedlings: Effects of the Supply of Water from the Xylem and of Solutes from the Phloem
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Abstract

To evaluate the possible role of solute transport during extension growth, water and solute relations of cortex cells of the growing hypocotyl of 5-day-old castor bean seedlings (Ricinus communis L.) were determined using the cell pressure probe. Because the osmotic pressure of individual cells ($\pi ^{\text{i}}$) was also determined, the water potential (ψ) could be evaluated as well at the cell level. In the rapidly growing part of the hypocotyl of well-watered plants, turgor increased from 0.37 megapascal in the outer to 1.04 megapascal in the inner cortex. Thus, there were steep gradients of turgor of up to 0.7 megapascal (7 bar) over a distance of only 470 micrometer. In the more basal and rather mature region, gradients were less pronounced. Because cell turgor ≈ $\pi ^{\text{i}}$ and ψ ≈ 0 across the cortex, there were also no gradients of ψ across the tissue. Gradients of cell turgor and $\pi ^{\text{i}}$ increased when the endosperm was removed from the cotyledons, allowing for a better water supply. They were reduced by increasing the osmotic pressure of the root medium or by cutting off the cotyledons or the entire hook. If the root was excised to interrupt the main source for water, effects became more pronounced. Gradients completely disappeared and turgor fell to 0.3 megapascal in all layers within 1.5 hours. When excised hypocotyls were infiltrated with 0.5 millimolar CaCl2 solution under pressure via the cut surface, gradients in turgor could be restored or even increased. When turgor was measured in individual cortical cells while pressurizing the xylem, rapid responses were recorded and changes of turgor exceeded that of applied pressure. Gradients could also be reestablished in excised hypocotyls by abrading the cuticle, allowing for a water supply from the wet environment. The steep gradients of turgor and osmotic pressure suggest a considerable supply of osmotic solutes from the phloem to the growing tissue. On the basis of a new theoretical approach, the data are discussed in terms of a coupling between water and solute flows and of a compartmentation of water and solutes, both of which affect water status and extension growth.

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