Molecular Breeding

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 525–531 | Cite as

Deoxyuridine triphosphatase expression defines the transition from dormant to sprouting potato tuber buds

Short Communication


Identification of molecular markers defining the end of tuber dormancy prior to visible sprouting is of agronomic interest for potato growers and the potato processing industry. In potato tubers, breakage of dormancy is associated with the reactivation of meristem function. In dormant meristems, cells are arrested in the G1/G0 phase of the cell cycle and re-entry into the G1 phase followed by DNA replication during the S phase enables bud outgrowth. Deoxyuridine triphosphatase (dUTPase) is essential for DNA replication and was therefore tested as a potential marker for meristem reactivation in tuber buds. The corresponding cDNA clone was isolated from potato by PCR. The deduced amino acid sequence showed 94% similarity to the tomato homologue. By employing different potato cultivars, a positive correlation between dUTPase expression and onset of tuber sprouting could be confirmed. Moreover, gene expression analysis of tuber buds during storage time revealed an up-regulation of the dUTPase 1 week before visible sprouting occurred. Further analysis using an in vitro sprout assay supported the assumption that dUTPase is a good molecular marker to define the transition from dormant to active potato tuber meristems.


Solanum tuberosum Potato Tuber dormancy Tuber sprouting Meristem reactivation DNA replication dUTPase 



The authors want to thank Stephen Reid for excellent technical assistance and Christine Hösl for taking care of the plants in the greenhouse. The project was funded by EU-SOL (FOOD-CT-2006-016214).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie Senning
    • 1
  • Uwe Sonnewald
    • 1
  • Sophia Sonnewald
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Lehrstuhl für BiochemieFriedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany

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