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The Mechanism of Boron Mobility in Wheat and Canola Phloem

Stangoulis, James, Tate, Max, Graham, Robin, Bucknall, Martin, Palmer, Lachlan, Boughton, Berin, Reid, Robert
Plant physiology 2010 v.153 no.2 pp. 876-881
Aphidoidea, Brassica napus, Chara corallina, Triticum aestivum, borates, boron, canola, cell walls, desorption, detection limit, inflorescences, ionization, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, phloem, spectrometers, vacuoles, wheat
Low-molecular-weight borate complexes were isolated from canola (Brassica napus) and wheat (Triticum aestivum) phloem exudates, as well as the cytoplasm of the fresh-water alga Chara corallina, and identified using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Phloem exudate was collected from field-grown canola inflorescence stalks by shallow incision, while wheat phloem exudate was collected by aphid stylectomy. Chara cytoplasm was collected by careful manual separation of the cell wall, vacuole, and cytosolic compartments. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry showed the presence of isotopic borate complexes, at mass-to-charge ratio of 690.22/691.22 in the canola and wheat phloem and at 300.11/301.11 in canola phloem and Chara cytoplasm. Using reference compounds, the borate complexes with mass-to-charge ratio 690.22/691.22 was identified as a bis-sucrose (Suc) borate complex in which the 4,6-hydroxyl pairs from the two α-glucopyranoside moieties formed an [L₂B]⁻¹ complex. Further investigation using liquid chromatography electrospray ionization triple quadrupole mass spectrometry analysis confirmed the presence of the bis-Suc borate complex in wheat phloem with a concentration up to 220 μM. The 300.11/301.11 complex was putatively identified as a bis-N-acetyl-serine borate complex but its concentration was below the detection limits of the liquid chromatography electrospray ionization triple quadrupole mass spectrometer so could not be quantified. The presence of borate complexes in the phloem provides a mechanistic explanation for the observed phloem boron mobility in canola and wheat and other species that transport Suc as their primary photoassimilate.