Journal Article

Effects of abscisic acid, ethylene and sugars on the mobilization of storage proteins and carbohydrates in seeds of the tropical tree <i>Sesbania virgata</i> (Leguminosae)

Patricia Pinho Tonini, Eduardo Purgatto and Marcos Silveira Buckeridge

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 106, issue 4, pages 607-616
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online August 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq159
Effects of abscisic acid, ethylene and sugars on the mobilization of storage proteins and carbohydrates in seeds of the tropical tree Sesbania virgata (Leguminosae)

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Endospermic legumes are abundant in tropical forests and their establishment is closely related to the mobilization of cell-wall storage polysaccharides. Endosperm cells also store large numbers of protein bodies that play an important role as a nitrogen reserve in this seed. In this work, a systems approach was adopted to evaluate some of the changes in carbohydrates and hormones during the development of seedlings of the rain forest tree Sesbania virgata during the period of establishment.

Methods

Seeds imbibed abscisic acid (ABA), glucose and sucrose in an atmosphere of ethylene, and the effects of these compounds on the protein contents, α-galactosidase activity and endogenous production of ABA and ethylene by the seeds were observed.

Key Results

The presence of exogenous ABA retarded the degradation of storage protein in the endosperm and decreased α-galactosidase activity in the same tissue during galactomannan degradation, suggesting that ABA represses enzyme action. On the other hand, exogenous ethylene increased α-galactosidase activity in both the endosperm and testa during galactomannan degradation, suggesting an inducing effect of this hormone on the hydrolytic enzymes. Furthermore, the detection of endogenous ABA and ethylene production during the period of storage mobilization and the changes observed in the production of these endogenous hormones in the presence of glucose and sucrose, suggested a correlation between the signalling pathway of these hormones and the sugars.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that ABA, ethylene and sugars play a role in the control of the hydrolytic enzyme activities in seeds of S. virgata, controlling the process of storage degradation. This is thought to ensure a balanced flow of the carbon and nitrogen for seedling development.

Keywords: Abscisic acid; α-galactosidase; ethylene; galactomannan; glucose; proteases; seeds; Sesbania virgata; storage protein; sucrose

Journal Article.  6750 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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