The Open Plant Science Journal


ISSN: 1874-2947 ― Volume 11, 2019

Histochemical Examination of Invertase Activities in the Growing Tip of the Plant Root

N.F. Lunkova, N.A. Burmistrova, M.S. Krasavina*
Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology Russian Academy of Science, Botanicheskaya 35, 127276 Moscow, Russia



A growing part of the root is one of the most active sinks for sucrose coming from source leaves through the phloem. In the root, sucrose is unloaded from conducting bundles and is distributed among the surrounding cells. To be involved in the metabolism, sucrose should disintegrate into hexoses by means of degrading enzymes.


The aim of this research was to explore the possibility of the involvement of one such enzymes, invertase, in phloem unloading as well as distribution of its activity in the functionally different tissues of the plant root tips.


To estimate the enzyme activities in root tissues, we applied two techniques: the histochemical method using nitro blue tetrazolium. The localization of phloem unloading was studied with carboxyfluorescein, a fluorescent marker for symplastic transport.


Invertase activity was not detected in the apical part of the meristem. It appeared only between the basal part of this zone and the beginning of the elongation zone. There is the root phloem unloading in that area. Invertase activity increased with increasing the distance from the root tip and reached the highest values in the region of cell transition to elongation and in the elongation zone. The activities of the enzyme varied in different tissues of the same zone and sometimes in the neighboring cells of the same tissue. Biochemical determination of invertase activity was made in the maize root segments coincident to the zones of meristem, cell elongation and differentiation. The results of both methods of determination of invertase activity were in agreement.


It was concluded that phloem unloading correlated with invertase activity, possibly because of the activation of invertase by unloaded sucrose. Invertase is one of the factors involved in the processes preparing the cells for their transition to elongation because the concentration of osmotically active hexoses increases after cleavage of sucrose, that stimulates water entry into the cells, which is necessary for elongation growth.

Keywords: Zea mays L., Cucumis melo L., Root tip, Invertase, Phloem unloading, Histochemistry.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2017
Volume: 10
First Page: 35
Last Page: 45
Publisher Id: TOPSJ-10-35
DOI: 10.2174/1874294701710010035

Article History:

Received Date: 12/01/2017
Revision Received Date: 14/03/2017
Acceptance Date: 15/03/2017
Electronic publication date: 30/06/2017
Collection year: 2017

© 2017 Lunkova et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this authors at the Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology Russian Academy of Science, Moscow; Botanicheskaya 35, 127276 Moscow, Russia, Tel: 89161944029; Fax: 84999778018; E-mail:

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