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Forisome Performance in Artificial Sieve Tubes
Plant, Cell & Environment (2012)
  • Michael Knoblauch
  • Mike Stubenrauch
  • Aart J.E. van Bel
  • Winfried S. Peters
In the legume phloem, sieve element occlusion (SEO) proteins assemble into Ca2+-dependent contractile bodies. These forisomes presumably control phloem transport by forming reversible sieve tube plugs. This function, however, has never been directly demonstrated, and appears questionable as forisomes were reported to be too small to plug sieve tubes, and failed to block flow efficiently in artificial microchannels. Moreover, plugs of SEO-related proteins in Arabidopsis sieve tubes do not affect phloem translocation. We improved existing procedures for forisome isolation and storage, and found that the degree of Ca2+-driven deformation that is possible in forisomes of Vicia faba, the standard object of earlier research, has been underestimated substantially. Forisomes deform particularly strongly under reducing conditions and high sugar concentrations, as typically found in sieve tubes. In contrast to our previous inference, Ca2+-inducible forisome swelling certainly seems sufficient to plug sieve tubes. This conclusion was supported by 3D-reconstructions of forisome plugs in Canavalia gladiata. For a direct test, we built microfluidics chips with artificial sieve tubes. Using fluorescent dyes to visualize flow, we demonstrated the complete blockage of these biomimetic microtubes by Ca2+-induced forisome plugs, and concluded by analogy that forisomes are capable of regulating phloem flow in vivo.
  • artificial phloem,
  • Ca2+-dependent contractility,
  • forisome,
  • microfluidics,
  • phloem transport,
  • SEO protein
Publication Date
March 14, 2012
Citation Information

Michael Knoblauch, Mike Stubenrauch, Aart J.E. van Bel, and Winfried S. Peters. Forisome Performance in Artificial Sieve Tubes. Plant Cell & Environment (2012) 35: 1419-1427.

doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2012.02499.x