Disrupting Abscisic Acid Homeostasis in Western White Pine (Pinus monticola Dougl. Ex D. Don) Seeds Induces Dormancy Termination and Changes in Abscisic Acid Catabolites
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To investigate the role of abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis and catabolism in dormant imbibed seeds of western white pine (Pinus monticola), ABA and selected catabolites were measured during a combined treatment of the ABA biosynthesis inhibitor fluridone, and gibberellic acid (GA). Fluridone in combination with GA effectively disrupted ABA homeostasis and replaced the approximately 90-day moist chilling period normally required to break dormancy in this species. Individually, both fluridone and GA treatments decreased ABA levels in the embryos and megagametophytes of white pine seeds compared to a water control; however, combined fluridone/GA treatment, the only treatment to terminate dormancy effectively, led to the greatest decline in ABA content. Fluridone treatments revealed that a high degree of ABA turnover/transport occurred in western white pine seeds during the initial stages of dormancy maintenance; at this time, ABA levels decreased by approximately two-thirds in both embryo and megagametophyte tissues. Gibberellic acid treatments, both alone and in combination with fluridone, suggested that GA acted transiently to disrupt ABA homeostasis by shifting the ratio between biosynthesis and catabolism to favor ABA catabolism or transport. Increases in phaseic acid (PA) and dihydrophaseic acid (DPA) were observed during fluridone/GA treatments; however, increases in ABA metabolites did not account for the reduction in ABA observed; additional catabolism and/or transport of ABA and selected metabolites in all probability accounts for this discrepancy. Finally, levels of 7′ hydroxy-ABA (7′OH-ABA) were higher in dormant-imbibed seeds, suggesting that metabolism through this pathway is increased in seeds that maintain higher levels of ABA, perhaps as a means to further regulate ABA homeostasis.
KeywordsAbscisic acid metabolism Fluridone Germination Seed dormancy Pinus
The authors thank Dave Kolotelo and Dean Christianson of the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, BC, Canada, for helping obtain mature seed of western white pine. The authors also thank Dr. Andrew R. S. Ross for suggested improvements to the manuscript.
This research was supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Strategic) and Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence (PENCE) grants awarded to A.R.K., S.R.A., A.J.C., A.R.S.R., and other investigators.
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