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

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Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgment

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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Correspondence to Branka Salopek-Sondi.

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Ana Brcko and Aleš Pěnčík contributed equally to this work.

Volker Magnus deceased in 2009.

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Brcko, A., Pěnčík, A., Magnus, V. et al. Endogenous Auxin Profile in the Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger L.) Flower and Fruit: Free and Amide Conjugated IAA. J Plant Growth Regul 31, 63–78 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00344-011-9220-1

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