Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 459–471 | Cite as

Local induction of senescence by darkness in Cucurbita pepo (zucchini) cotyledons or the primary leaf induces opposite effects in the adjacent illuminated organ

  • Kalina Ananieva
  • Evguéni D. Ananiev
  • Snejana Doncheva
  • Detelin Stefanov
  • Kiril Mishev
  • Miroslav Kamínek
  • Vaclav Motyka
  • Petre I. Dobrev
  • Jiři Malbeck
Original Paper


Local darkening of zucchini cotyledons or the primary leaf affected in an organ-specific manner the adjacent ones which remained under the initial light regime. Individual darkening of either the pair of cotyledons or the primary leaf led to acceleration of senescence expressed by lowering of chlorophyll content and net photosynthetic rate. Darkening of the pair of cotyledons induced a reduction in total cytokinin (CK) levels and increased CK oxidase/dehydrogenase (CKX) activity in the adjacent illuminated primary leaf. In addition, abscisic acid (ABA) content was increased which correlated with reduced stomatal aperture leading to decreased stomatal conductance and transpiration rate. In contrast, darkening of the adjacent primary leaf led to increased metabolic activity in the illuminated cotyledons including increased total CK levels in parallel with decreased CKX activity, decreased ABA content in correlation with increased stomatal aperture, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate. On the other hand, the functional activity of the photosynthetic apparatus as well as the transcript levels of the three photosynthesis-related genes psbA, psaB and rbcL remained almost unaffected in both illuminated organs. Thus, compared with the primary leaves, cotyledons appeared to be much more resistant to the dark stress applied either directly or to the adjacent primary leaf. Our results indicated the involvement of CKs and ABA signalling in the control of the communication mechanisms between cotyledons and the primary leaf that could operate in response to changing environmental factors like shading during earlier stages of plant development.


Abscisic acid Cotyledons Cytokinins Cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase Dark treatment Primary leaves 



Abscisic acid






cis-Zeatin riboside


Cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase




Dihydrozeatin 9-riboside


Dihydrozeatin 7-glucoside


Dihydrozeatin 9-glucoside


Dihydrozeatin 9-riboside O-glucoside


Dihydrozeatin 9-riboside-5′-monophosphate


Indole-3-acetic acid




N6-(2-isopentenyl)adenine 9-riboside


N6-(2-isopentenyl)adenine 7-glucoside


N6-(2-isopentenyl)adenine 9-glucoside


N6-(2-isopentenyl)adenine 9-riboside-5′-monophosphate


Photosystem II


A gene coding for PSI apoprotein PsaB


A gene coding for D1 protein of PSII reaction center


A gene coding for the large subunit of Rubisco


Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase


Senescence-associated genes




trans-Zeatin 9-riboside


trans-Zeatin 7-glucoside


trans-Zeatin 9-glucoside


trans-Zeatin O-glucoside


trans-Zeatin 9-riboside O-glucoside


trans-Zeatin 9-riboside-5′-monophosphate (abbreviations for cytokinins according to Kamínek et al. 2000)



This research was supported by a Bulgarian-Czech bilateral Academy of Sciences project and by GA AS CR (IAA600380701 and IAA600380805) and MEYS CR (LC06034 and 1M06030).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kalina Ananieva
    • 1
  • Evguéni D. Ananiev
    • 2
  • Snejana Doncheva
    • 1
  • Detelin Stefanov
    • 1
  • Kiril Mishev
    • 1
  • Miroslav Kamínek
    • 3
  • Vaclav Motyka
    • 3
  • Petre I. Dobrev
    • 3
  • Jiři Malbeck
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Plant Physiology and GeneticsBulgarian Academy of SciencesSofiaBulgaria
  2. 2.Department of Plant Physiology, Faculty of BiologySt. Kliment Ohridsky University of SofiaSofiaBulgaria
  3. 3.Institute of Experimental BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPrague 6Czech Republic

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