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Proton flows across the plant cell membranes play a major role in electrogenesis and regulation of photosynthesis and ion balance. The profiles of external pH along the illuminated internodal cells of characean algae consist of alternating high- and low-pH zones that are spatially coordinated with the distribution of photosynthetic activity of chloroplasts underlying these zones. The results based on confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscopy, pH microsensors, and pulse-amplitude-modulated chlorophyll microfluorometry revealed that the coordination of H+ transport and photosynthesis is disrupted by the 2 different environmental cues (low light and wounding) and by a chemical, wortmannin interfering with the inositol phospholipid metabolism. On the one hand, the transition from moderate to low irradiance diminished the peaks in the profiles of photosystem II (PSII) quantum efficiency but did not remove the pH bands. On the other hand, the microwounding of the internode with a glass micropipette, impacting primarily the cell wall, resulted in a rapid local alkalinization of the external medium (by 2-2.5 pH units) near the cell surface, thus mimicking the appearance of natural pH bands. Despite their seeming similarity, the alkaline bands of intact cells were eliminated by wortmannin, whereas the wound-induced alkalinization was insensitive to this drug. Furthermore, the attenuation of natural pH bands in wortmannin-treated cells was accompanied by the enhancement in spatial heterogeneity of PSII efficiency and electron transport rates, which indicates the complexity of chloroplast-plasma membrane interactions. The results suggest that the light- and wound-induced alkaline areas on the cell surface are associated with different ion-transport systems.


Alexander A Bulychev, Ilse Foissner. Pathways for external alkalinization in intact and in microwounded Chara cells are differentially sensitive to wortmannin. Plant signaling & behavior. 2017 Sep 02;12(9):e1362518

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PMID: 28805493

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