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Osmotic regulation of assimilate unloading from seed coats of Vicia faba: Assimilate partitioning to and within attached seed coats

Osmotic regulation of assimilate unloading from seed coats of Vicia faba: Assimilate partitioning to and within attached seed coats

Physiologia Plantarum 87(3): 345-352

The significance of the osmotic potential of the seed apoplast sap as a regulator of assimilate transfer to and within coats of developing seed of Vicia faba (cv. Coles Prolific) was assessed using attached empty seed coats and intact developing seed. Following surgical removal of the embryos, through windows cut in the pod walls and underlying seed coats, the resulting attached "empty" seed coats were filled with solutions of known osmotic potentials (-0.02 versus -0.75 MPa). Sucrose efflux from the coats was elevated at the higher osmotic potential (low osmotic concentration) for the first 190 min of exchange. Thereafter, this efflux was depressed relative to efflux from coats exposed to the low osmotic potential (high osmotic concentration) solution. This subsequent reversal in efflux was attributable to an enhanced diminution of the coat sucrose pools at the high external osmotic potential. Indeed, when expressed as a proportion of the current sucrose pool size, relative efflux remained elevated for coats exposed to the high osmotic potential solution. Measurement of potassium and sucrose fluxes to and from their respective pools in the coat tissues demonstrated that the principal fluxes, sensitive to variation in the external osmotic potential, were phloem import into and efflux from the "empty" coats. Phloem import, consistent with a pressure-driven phloem transport mechanism, responded inversely with changes in the external osmotic potential. In contrast, sucrose and potassium efflux from the coats exhibited a positive dependence on the osmotic potential. Growth rates of whole seed were approximately doubled by enclosing selected pods in water jackets held at temperatures of 25 degree C compared to 15 degree C. The osmotic potential of sap collected from the seed apoplast remained constant and independent of the temperature-induced changes in seed growth rates and hence phloem import. Based on these findings, it is proposed that control of phloem import by changes in the external osmotic potential observed with "empty" seed coats has no significance as a regulator of assimilate import by intact seed. Rather, maintenance of the seed apoplast osmotic potential, independent of seed growth rate, suggests that the observed osmotic regulation of efflux from the coats may play a key role in integrating assimilate demand by the embryo with phloem import.

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Accession: 009140935

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.1993.tb01740.x

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