, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 153-163

Plasticity of polyamine metabolism associated with high osmotic stress in rape leaf discs and with ethylene treatment

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Abstract

In rape leaf discs the response to osmotic stress has been found to be associated with increases in putrescine and 1,3-diaminopropane (an oxidation product of spermidine and/or spermine) and decreases in spermidine titers. In contrast, agmatine and spermine titers showed small changes while cadaverine accumulated massively. Similar results were observed in whole rape seedlings subjected to drought conditions. α-DL-difluoromethylarginine (DFMA), a specific irreversible inhibitor of arginine decarboxylase, strongly inhibited polyamine accumulation in unstressed rape leaf discs, which suggested that the arginine decarboxylase pathway is constitutively involved in putrescine biosynthesis. In leaf discs treated under high osmotic stress conditions, both DFMA and DFMO (α-DL-difluoromethylornithine, a specific and irreversible inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase) inhibited the accumulation of polyamines. Although the stressed discs treated with DFMA had a lower concentration of putrescine than those treated with DFMO, we propose that under osmotic stress the synthesis of putrescine might involve both enzymes. DFMA, but not DFMO, was also found to inhibit cadaverine formation strongly in stressed explants. The effects on polyamine biosynthesis and catabolism of cyclohexylamine, the spermidine synthase inhibitor, aminoguanidine, the diamine-oxidase inhibitor and γ-aminobutyric acid, a product of putrescine oxidation via diamine oxidase or spermidine oxidation via polyamine oxidase were found to depend on environmental osmotic challenges. Thus, it appears that high osmotic stress did not block spermidine biosynthesis, but induced a stimulation of spermidine oxidation. We have also demonstrated that in stressed leaf discs, exogenous ethylene, applied in the form of (2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid or ethephon, behaves as an inhibitor of polyamine synthesis with the exception of agmatine and diaminopropane. In addition, in stressed tissues, when ethylene synthesis was inhibited by aminooxyacetic acid or aminoethoxyvinylglycine, S-adenosylmethionine utilization in polyamine synthesis was not promoted. The relationships between polyamine and ethylene biosynthesis in unstressed and stressed tissues are discussed.