Structure and enzyme expression in photosynthetic organs of the atypical C4 grass Arundinella hirta

Masataka Wakayama, Jun Ichi Ohnishi, Osamu Ueno

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12 Citations (Scopus)


In its leaf blade, Arundinella hirta has unusual Kranz cells that lie distant from the veins (distinctive cells; DCs), in addition to the usual Kranz units composed of concentric layers of mesophyll cells (MCs) and bundle sheath cells (BSCs; usual Kranz cells) surrounding the veins. We examined whether chlorophyllous organs other than leaf blades - namely, the leaf sheath, stem, scale leaf, and constituents of the spike - also have this unique anatomy and the C4 pattern of expression of photosynthetic enzymes. All the organs developed DCs to varying degrees, as well as BSCs. The stem, rachilla, and pedicel had C4-type anatomy with frequent occurrence of DCs, as in the leaf blade. The leaf sheath, glume, and scale leaf had a modified C 4 anatomy with MCs more than two cells distant from the Kranz cells; DCs were relatively rare. An immunocytochemical study of C3 and C4 enzymes revealed that all the organs exhibited essentially the same C4 pattern of expression as in the leaf blade. In the scale leaf, however, intense expression of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/ oxygenase (Rubisco) occurred in the MCs as well as in the BSCs and DCs. In the leaf sheath, the distant MCs also expressed Rubisco. In Arundinella hirta, it seems that the ratio of MC to Kranz cell volumes, and the distance from the Kranz cells, but not from the veins, affects the cellular expression of photosynthetic enzymes. We suggest that the main role of DCs is to keep a constant quantitative balance between the MCs and Kranz cells, which is a prerequisite for effective C4 pathway operation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1255
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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