It has been known for more than a century that sieve plates in the phloem in plants contain callose, a β-1,3-glucan. However, the genes responsible for callose deposition in this subcellular location have not been identified. In this paper we examine callose deposition patterns in T-DNA insertion mutants (cs7) of the Callose Synthase 7 (CalS7) gene. We demonstrated here that the CalS7 gene is expressed specifically in the phloem of vascular tissues. Callose deposition in the phloem, especially in the sieve elements, was greatly reduced in cs7 mutants. Ultrastructural analysis of developing sieve elements revealed that callose failed to accumulate in the plasmodesmata of incipient sieve plates at the early perforation stage of phloem development, resulting in the formation of sieve plates with fewer pores. In wild-type Arabidopsis plants, callose is present as a constituent polysaccharide in the phloem of the stem, and its accumulation can also be induced by wounding. Callose accumulation in both conditions was eliminated in mature sieve plates of cs7 mutants. These results demonstrate that CalS7 is a phloem-specific callose synthase gene, and is responsible for callose deposition in developing sieve elements during phloem formation and in mature phloem induced by wounding. The mutant plants exhibited moderate reduction in seedling height and produced aberrant pollen grains and short siliques with aborted embryos, suggesting that CalS7 also plays a role in plant growth and reproduction.
© 2010 The Authors. The Plant Journal © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.