Two functionally different vacuoles for static and dynamic purposes in one plant mesophyll leaf cell

Plant J. 2004 Jan;37(2):294-300. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2003.01958.x.


It is a common belief that plant mesophyll cells are occupied up to 95% by a single multipurpose vacuole. The common ice plant, Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L., however, requires two contrasting functions of the vacuole under salt stress. Large amounts of NaCl have to be sequestered permanently for osmotic purpose and for protecting the cytoplasm from NaCl toxicity. A dynamic exchange with the cytoplasm is required because photosynthesis proceeds under these conditions via the metabolic cycle of crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). Nocturnally acquired CO2 must be kept as malate in the vacuole and re-mobilized in the daytime. Here, we show that two large independent types of vacuoles with different transport properties meet the requirements for the contrasting functions within the same cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Mesembryanthemum / physiology*
  • Mesembryanthemum / ultrastructure
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Plant Leaves / physiology*
  • Plant Leaves / ultrastructure
  • Protoplasts / physiology
  • Protoplasts / ultrastructure
  • Vacuoles / physiology*
  • Vacuoles / ultrastructure