, Volume 232, Issue 6, pp 1433–1445 | Cite as

Age-induced loss of wound-healing ability in potato tubers is partly regulated by ABA

  • G. N. Mohan Kumar
  • Edward C. Lulai
  • Jeffrey C. Suttle
  • N. Richard  KnowlesEmail author
Original Article


Wounding of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tubers induces the development of a suberized closing layer and wound periderm that resists desiccation and microbial invasion. Wound-healing ability declines with tuber age (storage period). The mechanism of loss in healing capacity with age is not known; however, upregulation of superoxide production, increased ABA biosynthesis and phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) activity in response to wounding are processes critical to the development of a suberized closing layer and wound periderm. Therefore, the role of ABA in modulating the age-induced loss of wound-healing ability of tubers was examined. Non-wounded older tubers had 86% less ABA (dry matter basis) than younger tubers. PAL transcript increased in younger tubers within 24 h of wounding, but transcription was delayed by 5 days in older tubers. Wound-induced PAL activity increased more rapidly in younger than older tubers. ABA treatment increased PAL expression and activity in tissue from both ages of tubers and restored the 24 h transcription time line in older tubers. Moreover, ABA treatment of wounded older tubers enhanced their resistance to water vapor loss following a 6-day wound-healing period. Wound-induced accumulation of suberin poly(phenolic(s)) (SPP) and suberin poly(aliphatic(s)) (SPA) was measurably slower in older versus younger tubers. ABA treatment hastened SPP accumulation in older tubers to match that in younger tubers, but only enhanced SPA accumulations over the initial 4 days of healing. Age-induced loss of wound-healing ability is thus partly due to reduced ability to accumulate ABA and modulate the production of SPP through PAL in response to wounding and to dysfunction in the downstream signaling events that couple SPA biosynthesis and/or deposition to ABA. ABA treatment partly restored the healing ability of older tubers by enhancing the accumulation of SPP without restoring wound-induced superoxide forming ability to the level of younger tubers. The coupling of phenolic monomers into the poly(phenolic) domain of suberin was therefore not limited by the diminished wound-induced superoxide production of older tubers.


Solanum tuberosum Wound healing Suberization Abscisic acid Tuber age Storage Phenylalanine ammonia lyase 



Abscisic acid




9-Cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase


NADPH oxidase


Phenylalanine ammonia lyase


Suberin poly(aliphatic(s))


Suberin poly(phenolic(s))



The financial support provided by grants from the USDA/ARS, USDA/CSREES, Washington State Potato Commission and WSU Agricultural Research Center to NRK is gratefully acknowledged. We thank Dr. Lee Hadwiger, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA, for providing PAL antiserum. We thank Mr. Jon Neubauer and Ms. Linda Huckle (USDA-ARS, NCSL) for technical assistance in preparing samples and determining SPP and SPA ratings and for LC-MS-SIM determination of ABA content.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. N. Mohan Kumar
    • 1
  • Edward C. Lulai
    • 2
  • Jeffrey C. Suttle
    • 2
  • N. Richard  Knowles
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Postharvest Physiology and Biochemistry Laboratory, Department of Horticulture and Landscape ArchitectureWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Northern Crop Science LaboratoryUSDA-Agricultural Research ServiceFargoUSA

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