💬Latest Science News -- ScienceDaily . | Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021 02:53 pm

Comprehensive characterization of vascular structure in plants

The leaf vasculature of plants plays a key role in transporting solutes from where they are made -- for example from the plant cells driving photosynthesis -- to where they are stored or used. Sugars and amino acids are transported from the leaves to the roots and the seeds via the conductive pathways of the phloem.

Phloem is the part of the tissue in vascular plants that comprises the sieve elements -- where actual translocation takes place -- and the companion cells as well as the phloem parenchyma cells. The leaf veins consist of at least seven distinct cell types, with specific roles in transport, metabolism and signalling.

Little is known about the vascular cells in leaves, in particular the phloem parenchyma. Two teams of Alexander von Humboldt professorship students from Düsseldorf and Tübingen, a colleague from Champaign Urbana in Illinois, USA, and a chair of bioinformatics from Düsseldorf have presented the first comprehensive analysis of the vascular cells in the leaves of thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) using single cell sequencing.

The team led up by Alexander von Humboldt Professor Dr. Marja Timmermans from Tübingen University was the first to use single cell sequencing in plants to characterise root cells. In collaboration with Prof. Timmermans' group, researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Professor Dr. Wolf Frommer in Düsseldorf succeeded for the first time in isolating plant cells to create an atlas of all regulatory RNA molecules (the transcriptome) of the leaf vasculature. They were able to define the role of the different cells by analysing the metabolic pathways.

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