Journal of Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 63–78 | Cite as

Endogenous Auxin Profile in the Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger L.) Flower and Fruit: Free and Amide Conjugated IAA

  • Ana Brcko
  • Aleš Pěnčík
  • Volker Magnus
  • Tatjana Prebeg
  • Selma Mlinarić
  • Jasenka Antunović
  • Hrvoje Lepeduš
  • Vera Cesar
  • Miroslav Strnad
  • Jakub Rolčík
  • Branka Salopek-SondiEmail author


The reproductive development of the Christmas rose (Helleborus niger L.) is characterized by an uncommon feature in the world of flowering plants: after fertilization the white perianth becomes green and photosynthetically active and persists during fruit development. In the flowers in which fertilization was prevented by emasculation (unfertilized) or entire reproductive organs were removed (depistillated), the elongation of the peduncle was reduced by 20–30%, and vascular development, particularly lignin deposition in sclerenchyma, was arrested. Chlorophyll accumulation in sepals and their photosynthetic efficacy were up to 80% lower in comparison to fertilized flowers. Endogenous auxins were investigated in floral and fruit tissues and their potential roles in these processes are discussed. Analytical data of free indole-3-acetic acid, indole-3-ethanol (IEt), and seven amino acid conjugates were afforded by LC-MS/MS in floral tissues of fertilized as well as unfertilized and depistillated flowers. Among amino acid conjugates, novel ones with Val, Gly, and Phe were identified and quantified in the anthers, and in the fruit during development. Reproductive organs before fertilization followed by developing fruit at post-anthesis were the main source of auxin. Tissues of unfertilized and depistillated flowers accumulated significantly lower levels of auxin. Upon depistillation, auxin content in the peduncle and sepal was decreased to 4 and 45%, respectively, in comparison to fruit-bearing flowers. This study suggests that auxin arising in developing fruit may participate, in part, in the coordination of the Christmas rose peduncle elongation and its vascular development.


Auxin Indole-3-acetic acid Amide conjugates Christmas rose Helleborus niger L. Flower and fruit development Perianth greening Peduncle elongation Vascular system 



This manuscript is dedicated to Dr. Sc. Volker Magnus, who was involved in the research of Christmas rose development for many years. This work was supported by research grants no. 098-0982913-2829, 098-0982913-2838, 073-0731674-0841, and 073-0731674-1673 (Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports), by grant MSM6198959216 (Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic) and by grant KAN200380801 (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic). We thank the staff of Pharmaceutical Botanical Garden “Fran Kušan” who made their Christmas rose collections available for our experiments, Dr. Sc. Kroata Hazler-Pilepić for constructive discussions connected to vascular development, and Dr. Sc. Marija Mary Sopta for critical reading of manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Brcko
    • 1
  • Aleš Pěnčík
    • 2
    • 3
  • Volker Magnus
    • 1
  • Tatjana Prebeg
    • 1
    • 6
  • Selma Mlinarić
    • 4
  • Jasenka Antunović
    • 4
  • Hrvoje Lepeduš
    • 5
  • Vera Cesar
    • 4
  • Miroslav Strnad
    • 2
  • Jakub Rolčík
    • 2
  • Branka Salopek-Sondi
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Ruder Bošković InstituteZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Laboratory of Growth Regulators, Faculty of SciencePalacký University and Institute of Experimental Botany AS CROlomoucCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Growth Regulators, Faculty of ScienceCentre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Palacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of J.J. StrossmayerOsijekCroatia
  5. 5.Agricultural Institute OsijekOsijekCroatia
  6. 6.Department of Ornamental Plants, Landscape Architecture and History of Garden Art, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  7. 7.Department of Molecular BiologyRuđer Bošković InstituteZagrebCroatia

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