Journal Article

Expression of senescence-associated genes in the leaves of silver birch (<i>Betula pendula</i>)

Maarit Sillanpää, Sari Kontunen-Soppela, Eeva-Maria Luomala, Sirkka Sutinen, Jaakko Kangasjärvi, Hely Häggman and Elina Vapaavuori

in Tree Physiology

Volume 25, issue 9, pages 1161-1172
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Expression of senescence-associated genes in the leaves of silver birch (Betula pendula)

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Development was monitored throughout the entire life span of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth.) leaves. The focus was on senescence-related changes in photosynthesis and gene expression. The youngest fully developed leaves were compared with older senescing leaves in two silver birch lines: the wild-type line R and a late-senescing line R3.1. Line R3.1 was found among transgenic lines produced with a plasmid containing sense-RbcS and nptII under the control of the 35S CaMV promoter. Compared with the wild type, line R3.1 showed no general change in the mRNA levels of RbcS or Rubisco protein; therefore, it can be considered a line whose phenotype is due to insertional mutagenesis. Leaf senescence started earlier in line R than in line R3.1. Senescence was characterized by declining photosynthesis as indicated by decreases in chlorophyll fluorescence, the amount and activity of Rubisco, and the level of the ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase small subunit (RbcS1) mRNA. Some well-known senescence-associated genes (SAGs) encoding cysteine proteinases (Cyp1, Cyp2) and a pathogenesis-related gene (Pr1) were associated with leaf senescence. The expression pattern of Cyp1 indicated that it could serve as a molecular marker of leaf senescence in silver birch. Several genes related to energy metabolism, antioxidants and phenylpropanoid biosynthesis showed enhanced expression during leaf senescence. A distinct pattern in transcript abundance during leaf development was revealed for some of the identified SAGs.

Keywords: antioxidants; cysteine proteinases; energy metabolism; pathogenesis-related genes; late senescing mutant; phenylpropanoid biosynthesis; photosynthesis; Rubisco

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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