Cyst(e)ine is the transport metabolite of assimilated sulfur from bundle-sheath to mesophyll cells in maize leaves

Marta Burgener, Marianne Suter, SK Jones, Christian Brunold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


The intercellular distribution of the enzymes and metabolites of
assimilatory sulfate reduction and glutathione synthesis was analyzed
in maize (Zea mays L. cv LG 9) leaves. Mesophyll cells and
strands of bundle-sheath cells from second leaves of 11-d-old maize
seedlings were obtained by two different mechanical-isolation
methods. Cross-contamination of cell preparations was determined
using ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase (EC and nitrate
reductase (EC as marker enzymes for bundle-sheath and
mesophyll cells, respectively. ATP sulfurylase (EC and adenosine
5*-phosphosulfate sulfotransferase activities were detected
almost exclusively in the bundle-sheath cells, whereas GSH synthetase
(EC and cyst(e)ine, g-glutamylcysteine, and glutathione
were located predominantly in the mesophyll cells. Feeding experiments using [35S]sulfate with intact leaves indicated that cyst(e)ine was the transport metabolite of reduced sulfur from bundle-sheath to mesophyll cells. This result was corroborated by tracer experiments, which showed that isolated bundle-sheath strands fed with [35S]sulfate secreted radioactive cyst(e)ine as the sole thiol into the resuspending medium. The results presented in this paper show that assimilatory sulfate reduction is restricted to the bundle-sheath cells, whereas the formation of glutathione takes place predominantly in the mesophyll cells, with cyst(e)ine functioning as a transport metabolite between the two cell types.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1315–1322
JournalPlant Physiology
Publication statusPrint publication - Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Cyst(e)ine is the transport metabolite of assimilated sulfur from bundle-sheath to mesophyll cells in maize leaves'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this