Plant epidermal trichomes are as varied in morphology as they are in function. In the halophyte Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, specialized trichomes called epidermal bladder cells (EBC) line the surface of leaves and stems, and increase dramatically in size and volume upon plant salt-treatment. These cells have been proposed to have roles in plant defense and UV protection, but primarily in sodium sequestration and as water reservoirs. To gain further understanding into the roles of EBC, a cell-type-specific proteomics approach was taken in which precision single-cell sampling of cell sap from individual EBC was combined with shotgun peptide sequencing (LC-MS/MS). Identified proteins showed diverse biological functions and cellular locations, with a high representation of proteins involved in H+-transport, carbohydrate metabolism, and photosynthesis. The proteome of EBC provides insight into the roles of these cells in ion and water homeostasis and raises the possibility that they are photosynthetically active and functioning in Crassulacean acid metabolism.
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