Chalcone synthase activity and polyphenolic compounds of shoot tissues from adult and rejuvenated walnut trees
Changes in the metabolism of naphthoquinone and flavonoids during the growth of half-sib adult and rejuvenated walnut shoots (Juglans nigra × Juglans regia L.) were studied at the tissue level for two years after pruning. Moreover, the role of chalcone synthase (CHS; EC 188.8.131.52) in the regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis was investigated at the level of enzyme activity. The end products of walnut flavonoid biosynthesis, myricitrin and quercitrin, which accumulated in the bark and phloem at the end of growth, did not inhibit the biosynthetic process at concentrations of up to 100 μM each. There was no evidence of CHS regulation by feedback or similar mechanisms which might modulate enzyme activity. Mathematical correlation of CHS activity and flavonoid accumulation during shoot growth, however, indicated that CHS is the rate-limiting enzyme of the pathway in bark and phloem and that flavonoids seem to be transported from phloem to bark where they accumulated mainly during growth. In defoliated shoots, naphthoquinone metabolism appeared to be a marker of the walnut rejuvenation stage in the medulla, phloem and buds immediately after cutting and thereafter mainly in buds one year after cutting. Chalcone synthase and flavonoid contents appeared to be markers of the adult stage in the phloem.
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