Document Type

Honors Paper

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Nepenthes alata is an east-Asian species of tropical carnivorous plant more commonly known as a pitcher plant. The pitcher is a modified epiascidiate leaf used to passively capture insects as nutritious supplements to its diet. In this study, the ultrastructure of different age stages of peristomal extrafloral nectary glands were surveyed, selected ages were immunolabeled for H+-ATPases. All nectary cells had numerous mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, plastids, and vacuoles in a dense cytoplasm consistent with an active secretory system. The larger class of immature pitchers (approx. 4 cm in diameter, lid closed) had budding structures affecting the plasma membrane of inner nectary gland cells, suggesting that secondary cell wall protrusions begin their development at this age. Older mature pitchers (approx. 3 cm diameter with an open lid) have interior nectary gland cells with full-sized cell wall protrusions, as well as numerous plasmodesmata, suggestive of a possible combined apoplastic and sympastic method of transportation for pre-nectar and nectar in the gland. In addition, although H+-ATPase immunogold labeled sections demonstrated a degree of non-specific binding, there was some localization between the secondary cell wall and the plasma membrane.

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The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.