Temperature-Mediated Alterations of the Plant Apoplast as a Mechanism of Intracellular Freezing Stress Avoidance
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Cold hardy Japanese bunching onion (Allium fistulosum L.) was used as a novel model system to examine the role of the apoplast in intracellular freezing avoidance. Since intracellular freezing avoidance is critical to both sensitive and resistant plants, non-acclimated and cold acclimated onion tissue was compared. The large 250 (length) x 50 (width) x 90 µm (thickness) intact single cell epidermal layer system allowed direct observation of the freezing process during freezing and thawing on a single cell basis in live intact tissues in non-acclimated (23/18°C) and acclimated (2 weeks at 12/4°C) plants. Under acclimation treatment, freezing resistance increased from an LT50 of -12°C at zero time to -27°C after two weeks exposure. Ice nucleation was always initiated in the apoplastic space in both non-acclimated and acclimated cells and then penetrated into the intracellular space. We provide direct evidence that lethal intracellular freezing damage was avoided in cold acclimated and CaCl2 treated cells through visible blockage of ice propagation from the apoplastic space to the intracellular region. Subsequent investigation of the apoplastic space revealed cold acclimation increased: a) the insoluble crude cell wall and pectin (galacturonic acid) content, b) total cell wall protein quantity, c) pectin methylesterase activity in the apoplastic space particularly in epidermal cells compared to non-epidermal cells, and d) the levels of un-methylated pectin. The increasing freezing resistance of Japanese bunching onion more depends on the efficiency of PME not only the increase in the amount of apoplast compositions. Collectively, these changes likely led to the observed significant reduction in cell wall permeability. In this way, freezing stress resistance may potentially be increased through avoidance of intracellular freezing by altering key factors related to apoplast permeability and blocking ice propagation across the cell wall.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
CommitteeBai, Yuguang; Wei, Yangdou; Båga, Monica; Gray, Gordon
Copyright DateOctober 2015
Allium fistulosum L.