American Journal of Botany 79(2): 166-173. 1992.
Paul G. Mahlberg & Eun-Soo Kim
Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405; and Department of Biology, Soonchunhyang University, Choongnam, Korea
Keywords: Cannabis sativa, Cannabaceae, gland, trichome, formation
Formation of secretory vesicles in the noncellular secretory cavity of glandular trichomes of Cannabis sativa L. was examined by transmission electron microscopy. Two patterns of vesicle formation occurred during gland morphogenesis. 1) During initial phases of cavity formation small hyaline areas arose in the wall near the plasma membrane of the disc cell. Hyaline areas of elongated shape and different sizes were distributed throughout the wall and adjacent to the secretory cavity. Hyaline areas increased in size, some possibly fusing with others. These hyaline areas, possessing a membrane, moved into the cavity where they formed vesicles. As membraned vesicles they developed a more or less round shape and their contents became electron-dense. 2) During development of the secretory cavity and when abundant secretions were present in the disc cells, these secretions passed through the wall to accumulate as membraned vesicles of different sizes in the cavity. As secretions emerged from the wall, a membrane of wall origin delimited the secretory material from cavity contents. Vesicles released from the wall migrated in the secretory cavity and contacted the sheath where their contents permeated into the subcuticular wall as large or diffused quantities of secretions. In the subcuticular wall these secretions migrated to the wall-cuticle interface where they contributed to structural thickening of the cuticle. This study demonstrates that the secretory process in glands of Cannabis involves not only secretion of materials from the disc cell, but that the disc cell somehow packages these secretions into membraned vesicles outside the cell wall prior to deposition into the secretory cavity for subsequent structural development of the sheath.