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The structural changes occurred in differentiating olive cotyledon cells into mesophyll cells are described. Using histological and immunocytological methods as well as microscopic observations, we showed that in the cells of mature embryo, large electron-dense proteins bodies (PBs) are surrounded by numerous oil bodies (OBs). After 3 days of in vitro germination, the presence of large PBs originated by fusion of smaller PBs was observed. It was also detected a close spatial proximity between PBs and OBs, likely as a reflection of interconnected metabolic pathways. Between the 3rd and the 12th day of germination, the formation of a large vacuolar compartment takes place accompanied by a decrease in the PBs and OBs number. This was coincident with a progressive decrease in the amount of the 11S-type seed storage proteins (SSPs), showed in situ and after Western blot analysis of crude protein extracts. After 26 days germination, the cellular organization became typical for a leaf mesophyll cell, with well-differentiated chloroplasts surrounding a large central vacuole. Our results suggest that the olive cotyledon storage reserves are mobilized gradually until the seedling becomes autotrophic. Moreover, the specific accumulation of storage proteins in the intravacuolar material suggests that these structures may operate as a shuttle for SSPs and/or products of their degradation into the cytoplasm, where finally they supply amino acids for the differentiating mesophyll cells.


Agnieszka Zienkiewicz, José Carlos Jiménez-López, Krzysztof Zienkiewicz, Juan de Dios Alché, María Isabel Rodríguez-García. Development of the cotyledon cells during olive (Olea europaea L.) in vitro seed germination and seedling growth. Protoplasma. 2011 Oct;248(4):751-65

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PMID: 21104420

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