J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2006, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (9): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2006.00301.x

• Research Articles •    

Leaf Epidermal Cells: A Trap for Lipophilic Xenobiotics

Zhiqian Liu   

Abstract: Plant surfaces are covered by a layer of cuticle, which functions as a natural barrier to protect plants from mechanical damage, desiccation, and microbial invasion. Results presented in this report show that the epicuticular wax and the cuticle of plant leaves also play an important role in resisting xenobiotic invasion. Although the epicuticular wax is impermeable to hydrophilic xenobiotics, the cuticle not only restricts the penetration of hydrophilic compounds into leaf cells, but also traps lipophilic ones. The role of the epidermal cells of plant leaves in resisting xenobiotic invasion has been neglected until now. The present study shows, for the first time, that the epidermal cells may reduce or retard the transport of lipophilic xenobiotics into the internal tissues through vacuolar sequestration. Although the guard cells appear to be an easy point of entry for xenobiotics, only a very small proportion of xenobiotics present on the leaf surface actually moves into leaf tissues via the guard cells.(*Tel: +33 22348 5997; Fax: +33 22348 5120; E-mail: zhiqian_liu@hotmail. com)

Key words: cuticle, epidermal cells, plants, wax, xenobiotics.

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