Bundle sheath cells form a sheath around the entire vascular tissue in Arabidopsis leaves and constitute a distinct leaf cell type, as defined by their elongate morphology, their position adjacent to the vein and by differences in their chloroplast development compared to mesophyll cells. They constitute about 15% of chloroplast-containing cells in the leaf. In order to identify genes which play a role in the differential development of bundle sheath and mesophyll cell chloroplasts, a screen of reticulate leaf mutants of Arabidopsis was used to identify a new class of mutants termed dov (differential development of vascular-associated cells). The dov1 mutant clearly demonstrates a cell-specific difference in chloroplast development. Mutant leaves are highly reticulate with a green vascular pattern. The underlying bundle sheath cells always contain normal chloroplasts, whereas chloroplasts in mesophyll cells are abnormal, reduced in number per cell and seriously perturbed in morphology at the ultrastructural level. This demonstrates that differential chloroplast development occurs between the bundle sheath and mesophyll cells in the Arabidopsis leaf.

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