Crystals of calcium oxalate often form in cells adjacent to the vascular bundles in the tissues along the xylem stream. This spatial crystal pattern suggests a role for calcium oxalate formation in regulating calcium transport and partitioning to edible organs such as seeds. To investigate this potential role, microscopic and biochemical comparisons were conducted on the different tissues of Medicago truncatula wild-type and the calcium oxalate defective (cod) 5 which lacks the ability to accumulate prismatic crystals in the cells adjacent to the vascular bundles. Calcium measurements showed that cod5 seeds had more calcium and cod5 pods contained less calcium than the corresponding wild-type tissues. Roots, stems, and leaves from cod5 and wild-type had similar calcium content. Although cod5 was devoid of prismatic crystals, cod5 pods were observed to form druse crystals of calcium oxalate not found in wild-type pods. Taken together these findings suggest a functional role for calcium oxalate formation in regulating calcium transport to the seeds. Regulating calcium uptake at the roots also appeared to be another point of control in determining seed calcium content. Overall, regulating the long distance transport and partitioning of calcium to the seeds appears to be a complex process with multiple points of control.
Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.