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Keywords:

  • Assimilate efflux;
  • broad bean;
  • osmotic regulation;
  • seed coat;
  • turgor-dependent efflux;
  • Vicia faba

Osmotic regulation of assimilate efflux from excised coats of developing Vicia faba (cv. Coles Prolific) seed was examined by exposing these to bathing solutions (adjusted to –0. 02 to –0. 75 MPa with sorbitol) introduced into the cavity vacated by the embryo. 14C photosynthate efflux was found to be independent of solution osmotic potentials below –0. 63 MPa. At higher osmotic potentials, efflux was stimulated and exhibited a biphasic response to osmotic potential with apparent saturation being reached at –0. 37 MPa. Efflux could be repeatedly stimulated and slowed by exposing seed coats to solutions of high and low osmotic potentials, respectively. Manipulation of components of tissue water potential, with slowly- and rapidly-permeating osmotica, demonstrated that turgor functioned as the signal regulating 14C photosynthate efflux. Com-partmental analysis of 14C photosynthate preloaded seed coats was consistent with exchange from 4 kinetically-distinct compartments. The kinetics of turgor-dependent efflux exhibited characteristics consistent with the transport mechanism residing in the plasma membranes of the unloading cells. These characteristics included the rapidity (<2 min) of the efflux response to turgor increases, similar rate constants for efflux from the putative turgor-sensitive and cytoplasmic compartments and the apparent small pool size from which turgor-dependent efflux could repeatedly occur. In contrast, influx of [14C] sucrose across the plasma and tonoplast membranes was found to be insensitive to turgor. The plasma membrane [14C] sucrose influx was unaffected by p-chloromercuribenzenesulfonic acid and erythrosin B and exhibited a linear dependence on the external sucrose concentration. This behaviour suggested that influx across the plasma membrane occurs by passive diffusion. Preloading excised seed coats with a range of solutes demonstrated that turgor-dependent efflux exhibited partial solute selectivity. Based on these findings, it is proposed that turgor controls assimilate exchange from the seed coat by regulating an efflux mechanism located in the plasma membranes of the unloading cells.