PEPC‐mediated carbon fixation in transmitting tract cells reflects style–pollen tube interactions

Marcel A.K. Jansen, Guido Sessa, Shmuel Malkin, Robert Fluhr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Styles nurture and guide pollen tubes to the ovules. The styles of Nicotiana tabacum, a C3 plant, contain a concentric strand of transmitting tract cells replete with well‐developed chloroplasts. It is shown that the chloroplasts have normal ultrastructure and electron transport ability. However, they were found to be devoid of Rubisco, the key enzyme responsible for carbon fixation in C3 plants. Nevertheless, non‐invasive fluorescence techniques showed a light‐driven photosynthetic flux. Carbon fixation via phosphoenol pyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) into malate was demonstrated, the latter accumulating during stylar development. Characterization of stylar PEPC in vitro and in vivo revealed apparent Km values consistent with bicarbonate as a rate limiting factor for photosynthetic flux. Presumably, in the closed confines of the intact style, respired CO2 is the source of carbonate. Enhanced photosynthetic flux was detected following pollination, suggesting utilization of the additional respired bicarbonate and underlining metabolic interactions between the style and the elongating pollen tube.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-515
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1992
Externally publishedYes


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