Tissue localization of u.v.-B-screening pigments and of chalcone synthase mRNA in needles of Scots pine seedlings
Epidermal tissue was isolated from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) needles by enzymatic digestion in order to study tissue distribution of u.v. - B- screening pigments. Up to 90 per cent of the needle content of a group of diacylated flavonol glycosides that were structurally closely related was found in the epidermal layer. Among these metabolites, 3",6"-di-para-coumaroyl- isoquercitrin and 3",6"-di-para-coumaroyl-astragalin were the main u.v.-B- induced compounds in cotyledons and primary needles, respectively. However, catechin and astragalin (kaempferol 3-glucoside), two non-acylated flavonoid metabolites, were only observed in total needle extracts, and at levels independent of u.v.-B treatment. According to this metabolite distribution, the mRNA of chalcone synthase, the key enzyme to flavonoids, was found in epidermal and mesophyll as well as vascular tissues. The major alkaliextractable wall- bound phenolic metabolites, astragalin, 4-coumaric acid, and ferulic acid, a minor co mponent of the cell wall, were also found exclusively in the epidermal layer. These compounds were not stimulated by u.v.-B irradiation within the experimental period. Staining of needle cross sections and epidermal layer preparations with Naturstoffreagenz A confirmed the specific localization of wall-bound astragalin in the outer wall of the epidermal layer. Model calculations of u.v.-B absorptions at 300 nm of soluble and cell-wall-bound metabolites of the epidermal layer revealed an almost complete shielding of the mesophyll tissue from u.v.-B radiation.