Journal Article

Endogenous ascorbic acid modulates meristem reactivation in white spruce somatic embryos and affects thymidine and uridine metabolism

Claudio Stasolla and Edward C. Yeung

in Tree Physiology

Volume 26, issue 9, pages 1197-1206
Published in print September 2006 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online September 2006 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Endogenous ascorbic acid modulates meristem reactivation in white spruce somatic embryos and affects thymidine and uridine metabolism

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Previously, we demonstrated that, in some cell lines, exogenous applications of ascorbic acid (ASC) enhance the conversion frequency of white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) somatic embryos, by stimulating mitotic activity in the apical meristems. To examine this event in more detail, we investigated the effects of ASC on de novo, salvage and degradation pathways of pyrimidine metabolism by following the metabolic fate of 14C-labeled orotic acid, thymidine, uridine and uracil in shoot and root poles of germinating embryos, after altering the cellular ASC content of the embryos. Alterations in endogenous ASC content did not affect the utilization of either orotic acid or uracil, but affected the metabolism of thymidine and uridine. Specifically, a lowering of endogenous ASC content by applications of lycorine (L), an inhibitor of the last enzyme of the ASC de novo biosynthetic pathway, resulted in a lower embryo conversion frequency, as well as a reduced percentage of thymidine and uridine incorporated into nucleotides and nucleic acids. The reduction in thymidine and uridine anabolism was mainly ascribed to the decreased activities of thymidine kinase (TRK) and uridine kinase (URK), the respective salvage enzymes of thymidine and uridine, measured in L-treated embryos. These effects were solely a result of a decrease in endogenous ASC content because applications of ascorbic acid plus lycorine (ASC + L) increased embryo conversion frequency, thymidine and uridine salvage activities, and TRK and URK activities to near control values. Inclusion of exogenous ASC in the germination medium did not affect the percentage of embryos able to convert to viable plantlets, although it increased thymidine and uridine utilization for nucleic acid synthesis in the shoot and root poles of the embryos. Taken together, these findings confirm that cellular ASC plays a key role in the reactivation of the apical meristems of germinating white spruce somatic embryos.

Keywords: autoradiography; cell division; degradation pathway; DNA; lycorine; meristem reactivation; orotic acid; Picea glauca; salvage pathway; uracil

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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