Background and Aims
Leaf growth is a complex developmental process controlled by genetic and environmental factors and is determined by a proliferation, expansion and maturation phase. Mutational analysis in Arabidopsis thaliana showed that leaf size and shape is dependent on cell division and cell expansion activity. An investigation was made at the cytophysiological and ultrastructural level of the elo1 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana, which is defective in one of the components of the histone acetyl transferase Elongator complex and displays a distinct ‘narrow leaves’ phenotype, owing to a reduced cell number and no transition between petiole and lamina. Relative expression levels of three sucrose metabolism/transport-related genes were also investigated. The aim was to determine the physiological basis of leaf morphology in this mutant, by investigating the modulatory role of sucrose.
The elo1 mutant was taken as representative of all the elo mutations and investigated at cytophysiological level. A germination test and growth assays were performed on seedlings grown for 21 d at different sucrose concentrations. Leaf morphometric and ultrastructural features were also investigated by image analysis and electron microscopy, respectively. Finally, a quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis was performed with three sucrose metabolism/transport-related genes that were investigated under different sucrose concentrations.
elo1 plants at high sucrose concentrations exhibited an enhancement of germination and inhibition of leaf growth as compared with wild-type plants. qPCR experiments with three sucrose metabolism/transport-related genes showed an interaction between sucrose availability and the elo1 mutation. Furthermore, electron microscopy analysis provided the first ultrastructural description of an elo mutant, which showed a hypotonic vacuole, alterations in the size of grana and starch grains in the chloroplasts, and the massive presence of Golgi vesicles in the cytoplasm.
Based on the results obtained it is proposed that mechanisms producing carbon assimilates or importing sucrose could be affected in elo1 plants and could account for the observed differences, implying a role for Elongator in the regulation of these processes.