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Open AccessArticle

Endocytosis and Digestion in Carnivorous Pitcher Plants of the Family Sarraceniaceae

1
Core Facility Cell Imaging and Ultrastructure Research, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
2
HBLFA for horticulture and the Austrian Bundesgärten Schönbrunn, Schloß Schönbrunn, A-1130 Vienna, Austria
3
Department of Ecogenomics and Systems Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstraße 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2019, 8(10), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8100367
Received: 21 August 2019 / Revised: 12 September 2019 / Accepted: 19 September 2019 / Published: 24 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Cell Biology)
Highly evolved carnivorous plants secrete digestive enzymes for degradation of trapped animals and absorb whole macromolecules from their prey by means of endocytosis. (1) Background: In the pitcher-plant family Sarraceniaceae, the production of enzymes is dubious and no evidence for endocytosis is known so far. (2) Methods: Heliamphora nutans, Darlingtonia californica, and nine taxa of Sarracenia are tested for cuticular pores, and for protease and endocytosis of the fluorescent protein analogue FITC-BSA, after 10–48 h of stimulation. (3) Results: Cuticular pores as a prerequisite for enzyme secretion and nutrient uptake are present in all tested species. Permeable cells form clusters in the inner epidermis of the pitchers, but are only little differentiated from impermeable epidermis cells. Proteases are found in S. psittacina, S. leucophylla, S. minor, S. oreophila, S. alabamensis, H. nutans, D. californica lacking only in S. flava and in S. purpurea ssp. purpurea, S. purpurea ssp. venosa, S. rosea, where enzyme production is possibly replaced by degradation via the extraordinary diverse inquiline fauna. S. leucophylla, S. minor, S. oreophila exhibit both protease production and endocytosis; S. psittacina, S. alabamensis, H. nutans, D. californica produce proteases only; no single species shows endocytosis without protease production. (4) Conclusions: Protease secretion seems to be a prerequisite for endocytotic nutrient uptake. Transport of FITC-BSA absorbed by endocytosis towards the vascular tissue of the trap leaves suggests that endocytosis of nutrients is more than a side effect of enzyme secretion. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sarracenia; Heliamphora; Darlingtonia; endocytosis; carnivorous plants; pitcher traps; uptake; digestion; FITC-BSA; methylene-blue Sarracenia; Heliamphora; Darlingtonia; endocytosis; carnivorous plants; pitcher traps; uptake; digestion; FITC-BSA; methylene-blue
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Koller-Peroutka, M.; Krammer, S.; Pavlik, A.; Edlinger, M.; Lang, I.; Adlassnig, W. Endocytosis and Digestion in Carnivorous Pitcher Plants of the Family Sarraceniaceae. Plants 2019, 8, 367.

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