24 January 2019
Sesuvium sesuvioides represents a young C 4 lineage with C 4-like metabolism: CO 2 compensation points range between C 4 and C 3–C 4 intermediate values, and Rubisco was detected in bundle sheath and mesophyll.
Sesuvium sesuvioides (Sesuvioideae, Aizoaceae) is a perennial, salt-tolerant herb distributed in flats, depressions, or disturbed habitats of southern Africa and the Cape Verdes. Based on carbon isotope values, it is considered a C 4 species, despite a relatively high ratio of mesophyll to bundle sheath cells (2.7:1) in the portulacelloid leaf anatomy. Using leaf anatomy, immunocytochemistry, gas exchange measurements, and enzyme activity assays, we sought to identify the biochemical subtype of C 4 photosynthesis used by S. sesuvioides and to explore the anatomical, physiological, and biochemical traits of young, mature, and senescing leaves, with the aim to elucidate the plasticity and possible limitations of the photosynthetic efficiency in this species. Assays indicated that S. sesuvioides employs the NADP-malic enzyme as the major decarboxylating enzyme. The activity of C 4 enzymes, however, declined as leaves aged, and the proportion of water storage tissue increased while air space decreased. These changes suggest a functional shift from photosynthesis to water storage in older leaves. Interestingly, S. sesuvioides demonstrated CO 2 compensation points ranging between C 4 and C 3–C 4 intermediate values, and immunocytochemistry revealed labeling of the Rubisco large subunit in mesophyll cells. We hypothesize that S. sesuvioides represents a young C 4 lineage with C 4-like photosynthesis in which C 3 and C 4 cycles are running simultaneously in the mesophyll.