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LeFRK2 is required for phloem and xylem differentiation and the transport of both sugar and water

Abstract

It has been suggested that LeFRK2, the major fructose-phosphorylating enzyme in tomato plants, may be required for stem xylem development. Yet, we do not know if this enzyme affects the development of individual vessels, whether it affects water conductance, or whether it affects phloem development and sugar transport. Here, we show that suppression of LeFRK2 results in a significant reduction in the size of vascular cells and slows fiber maturation. The vessels in stems of LeFRK2-antisense plants are narrower than in WT plants and have thinner secondary cell walls. Although the cambium produces rounded secondary vessels, these vessels become deformed during the early stages of xylem maturation. Water conductance is then reduced in stems, roots, and leaves, suggesting that LeFRK2 influences xylem development throughout the entire vascular system. Interestingly, the build-up of positive xylem pressure under static (no-flow) conditions was also decreased. Suppression of LeFRK2 reduced the length and width of the sieve elements, as well as callose deposition. To examine the effect of LeFRK2 suppression on phloem transport, we created triple-grafted plants in which a portion of the wild-type stem was replaced with an antisense interstcok, and compared the contents of the transported sugar, sucrose, in the different portions of these stems. Sucrose contents above and within the LeFRK2-antisense interstock were significantly higher than those below the graft. These results show that the antisense interstock restricted the downward movement of sucrose, suggesting that LeFRK2 is required for both phloem and xylem development.

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Abbreviations

FRK:

Fructokinase

HXK:

Hexokinase

SuSy:

Sucrose synthase

VPD:

Vapor pressure deficit

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by research grant No. 890/06 from The Israel Science Foundation, research grants No. IS-3397-06 and No. CA-9100-06 from BARD, the United States—Israel Binational Agricultural and Development Fund. We would like to thank Dr. Yelena Yeselson for her excellent help with HPLC analyses.

Author information

Correspondence to David Granot.

Additional information

Contribution No. 114/2009 from the Volcani Center ARO.

An erratum to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00425-016-2537-z.

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Damari-Weissler, H., Rachamilevitch, S., Aloni, R. et al. LeFRK2 is required for phloem and xylem differentiation and the transport of both sugar and water. Planta 230, 795–805 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-009-0985-4

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Keywords

  • Antisense
  • Fructokinase
  • Fructose
  • Phloem
  • Sucrose
  • Xylem