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Model systems for the immunolocalisation of cis, trans abscisic acid in plant tissues


To explore the feasibility of immunolocalisation of endogenous abscisic acid (ABA), model systems were developed for testing quantitatively the sensitivity of the second antibody peroxidase/antiperoxidse (PAP) method for immunolocalisation of ABA on plant tissues. Exogenous (±)ABA was fixed to carrot sections on glass slides or to homogenised pea cotyledon material on microtitre plates, either directly by carbodiimide fixation or by glutaraldehyde fixation of ABA-protein conjugates linked through the C1 carboxyl by 1-ethyl-3(3-dimethyl-amino-propyl) carbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC). Backgrounds were decreased by including 0.1% normal goat serum in the incubations, by including 0.1% Triton X-100 as a wetter, by including glycine in the rinses after EDC fixation and by using low-pH rinses after incubation with the primary antibody. Serum antibodies recognising the peptide bond between the protein and abscisic acid were removed by preincubating the serum with acetic acid conjugated to protein. Positives were only accepted when they could be eliminated by adding an excess of ABA-protein conjugate in the primary antiserum. By using a soluble peroxidase reaction product to facilitate quantitation, the limit of reliable exogenous ABA detection was found to be only of the order of 1 pmol. For the histochemical immunolocalisation of endogenous ABA, better antisera and lower backgrounds will be required.

The efficiency of fixation of exogenous ABA was determined using [3H] or [14C]ABA. When aqueous EDC or di-isopropyl carbodiimide (IPC) were used the fixation efficiency was low (up to 5%), but much higher efficiencies (up to 80%) were obtained using IPC vapour with freeze-dried material. Similarly efficient fixation of endogenous ABA in pea cotyledon material, as determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis, was obtained using the same technique. The PAP method failed to detect fixed endogenous ABA in pea cotyledons, even though the total tissue amounts present exceeded 1 pmol, evidence that not enough of the ABA was accessible to the antibody.

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abscisic acid


acetic acid-alkaline phosphatase


1-ethyl-3(3-dimethyl-amino-propyl) carbodiimide hydrochloride


gas chromatographymass spectrometry


Immunoglobulin G


humanserum albumin


dinsopropyl carbodiimide


goat anti-rabbit IgG


optical density


peroxidase/rabbit antiperoxidase complex


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Skene, D.S., Browning, G. & Jones, H.G. Model systems for the immunolocalisation of cis, trans abscisic acid in plant tissues. Planta 172, 192–199 (1987).

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Key words

  • Abscisic acid (fixation immunolocalisation)
  • Daucus (abscisic acid)
  • Immunolocalisation (model systems)
  • Pisum (abscisic acid)