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The aim of this study was to identify genes that are expressed in the phloem. Increased knowledge of phloem regulation will contribute to our understanding of its many roles, from transport of solutes to information about interactions with pathogens. A cDNA library constructed from phloem-enriched sap exuding from cut Ricinus communis (L.) hypocotyls was sequenced. To assess contamination from other tissues, two libraries were constructed: one using the first 15 min of exudation and the other from sap collected after 120 min of exudation had elapsed. Of 1012 clones sequenced, 158 unique transcripts were identified. The presence of marker molecules such as profilin, the low occurrence of chloroplast-related mRNAs, and the sieve element localization of constituent mRNA using in situ hybridization were consistent with a phloem origin of the sap. Functional analysis of the cDNAs revealed classifications including ribosomal function, interaction with the environment, transport, DNA/RNA binding, and protein turnover. An analysis of the closest Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) homologue for each clone indicated that genes involved in cell localization, protein synthesis, tissue localization, organ localization, organ differentiation, and cell fate were represented at twice the level occurring in the whole Arabidopsis genome. The transcripts found in this phloem-enriched library are discussed in the context of phloem function and the relationship between the companion cell and sieve element.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Bot

Publication Date





3183 - 3193


Amino Acids, Arabidopsis, Biological Transport, Carbohydrate Metabolism, Cell Wall, Cloning, Molecular, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Library, Genes, Plant, Oxidation-Reduction, Photosynthesis, Plant Proteins, RNA, Messenger, Ricinus, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid