During maturation of sieve elements in Cucurbita maxima Duchesne, the P-protein bodies (slime bodies) usually disperse in the tonoplast-free cell. In some sieve elements the P-protein bodies fail to disperse. The occurrence of dispersal or nondispersal of P-protein bodies can be related to the position of the sieve elements in the stem or petiole. In the sieve elements within the vascular bundle the bodies normally disperse; in the extrafascicular sieve elements the bodies often fail to disperse. Extrafascicular sieve elements showing partial dispersal also occur. The appearance of the sieve plate in fixed material is related to the degree of dispersal or nondispersal of the P-protein bodies. In sieve elements in which complete dispersal occurs the sieve plate usually has a substantial deposit of callose, and the sieve-plate pores are filled with P protein. In sieve elements containing nondispersing P-protein bodies the sieve plate bears little or no callose, and its pores usually are essentially "open." The dispersed P-protein components may aggregate into loosely organized "strands," which sometimes extend vertically through the cell and continue through the sieve-plate pores; but they may be oriented otherwise in the cell, even transversely.

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