The successful introduction of the C4 pathway into C3 crops would increase photosynthetic rates and crop productivity. However, our poor understanding of how Kranz leaf anatomy develops poses a great obstacle. In particular, the origin, development, and genetics of bundle sheath (BS) cells in C4 plants are key points to elucidate. Here we report that Elymus tsukushiensis, a common C3 grass of the subfamily Pooideae, contains chloroplasts in the mestome sheath (MS) cells of the leaf, unlike most MS cells of C3 grasses. The chloroplasts are smaller than those of mesophyll cells. Immunogold localization showed that the chloroplasts and mitochondria of MS cells, respectively, accumulate ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase and a photorespiratory enzyme, glycine decarboxylase, as in mesophyll cells. Thus, we suggest that the MS cells have weak photosynthetic and photorespiratory functions. This finding provides an insight into the development and evolution of C4-type BS cells in leaves of C3 grasses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science