Changes in mesophyll anatomy and sink-source relationships during leaf development in Quercus glauca, an evergreen tree showing delayed leaf greening

Shin Ichi Miyazawa, A. Makino, I. Terashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in mesophyli anatomy, gas exchange, and the amounts of nitrogen and cell wall constituents including cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin during leaf development were studied in an evergreen broad-leaved tree, Quercus glauca, and in an annual herb, Phaseolus vulgaris. The number of chloroplasts per whole leaf in P. vulgaris increased and attained the maximal level around 10 d before full leaf area expansion (FLE), whereas it continued to increase even after FLE in Q. glauca. The increase in the number of palisade tissue cells per whole leaf continued until a few days before FLE in Q. glauca, but it had almost ceased by 10 d before FLE in P. vulgaris. The radius and height of palisade tissue cells in Q. glauca, attained their maximal levels at around FLE whereas the thickness of the mesophyll cell wall and concentrations of the cell wall constituents increased markedly after FLE. These results clearly indicated that, in Q. glauca, chloroplast development proceeded in parallel with the cell wall thickening well after completion of the mesophyll cell division and cell enlargement. The sink-source transition, defined to be the time when the increase in daily carbon exchange rate exceeds the daily increase in leaf carbon content, occurred before FLE in P. vulgaris but after FLE in Q. glauca. During leaf area expansion, the maximum daily increase in nitrogen content on a whole leaf basis (the maximum leaf areas were corrected to be identical for these species) in Q. glauca was similar to that in P. vulgaris. In Q. glauca, however, more than 70% of nitrogen in the mature leaf was invested during its sink phase, whereas in P. vulgaris it was 50%. These results suggest that Q. glauca invests nitrogen for cell division for a considerable period and for chloroplast development during the later stages. We conclude that the competition for nitrogen between cell division and chloroplast development in the area of expanding leaves can explain different greening patterns among plant species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-755
Number of pages11
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003 May 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell division
  • Chloroplast development
  • Delayed greening
  • Evergreen tree
  • Leaf development
  • Nitrogen
  • Sink-source transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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