Structural and immunocytochemical characterization of the adhesive tendril of Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch.)
Bowling AJ; Vaughn KC
The tendrils of Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) do not coil around their supports. Rather they adhere to supporting objects by flattening against the support surface and secreting an adhesive compound which firmly glues the tendril to the support. In this study microscopic and immunocytochemical techniques were utilized to determine the nature of this adhesive. Following touch stimulation epidermal cells of the tendril elongate toward the support substrate becoming papillate in morphology. Following contact with the support surface an adhesive is produced at the base of the papillate cells. The adhesive appears as a highly heterogeneous raftlike structure and consists of pectinaceous rhamnogalacturonan (RG) I-reactive components surrounding a callosic core. In addition more mobile components composed of arabinogalactans and mucilaginous pectins intercalate both the support and the tendril penetrating the tendril to the proximal ends of the papillate cells. Following adherence to the support the anticlinal walls of the papillate cells are devoid of RG I side-chain reactivity indicating that extensive debranching of RG I molecules has taken place. Furthermore a large amount of RG I backbone reactivity was observed in the contact area. These results may indicate that the debranched RG I molecules diffuse into and permeate the contact region forming an integral part of the adhesive compound. These results indicate that Virginia creeper adheres to objects by a composite adhesive structure consisting of debranched RG I callose and other less-well characterized mucilaginous pectins and that this structure subsequently becomes lignified and very weather-resistant upon the ultimate senescence of the tendril.