Structural characterization of photosynthetic cells in an amphibious sedge, Eleocharis vivipara, in relation to C3 and C4 metabolism

Osamu Ueno

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Eleocharis vivipara Link is a unique amphibious leafless sedge. The terrestrial form has Kranz anatomy and the biochemical traits of C4 plants while the submerged form develops structural and biochemical traits similar to those of C3 plants. The structural features of the culms, which are the photosynthetic organs, of the two forms were examined and compared. The culms of the terrestrial form have mesophyll cells and three bundle sheaths which consist of three kinds of cell, namely, the innermost Kranz cells that contain large numbers of organelles, the middle mestome sheath cells that lack chloroplasts, and the outermost parenchyma sheath cells that contain chloroplasts. The culms of the submerged form had a tendency towards reduction in numbers and size of Kranz cells and vascular bundles, as compared to the terrestrial form, and they had spherical mesophyll cells that were tightly packed without intercellular spaces inside the epidermis. The submerged form had a higher ratio of cross-sectional area of mesophyll cells plus parenchyma sheath cells to that of Kranz cells than the terrestrial form. The difference was mainly due to a decrease in the number and the size of the Kranz cells and to a marked increase in the size of the mesophyll cells and the parenchyma sheath cells in tire submerged form, as compared to the terrestrial form. The Kranz cells of the terrestrial form had basically the structural characteristics of plants of the NAD-malic enzyme type, with the exception of the intracellular location of organelles. The Kranz cells of the submerged form included only a few organelles, and the percentage of organelles partitioned to the Kranz cells was significantly smaller in the submerged form than in the terrestrial form. In addition, the size of chloroplasts of the Kranz cells was 60-70% of that of the terrestrial form. These structural differences between the two forms may be related to the functional differences in their mechanisms of photosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-393
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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