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Journal of experimental botany

Auxin involvement in tepal senescence and abscission in Lilium: a tale of two lilies.


PMID 25422499

Abstract

Petal wilting and/or abscission terminates the life of the flower. However, how wilting and abscission are coordinated is not fully understood. There is wide variation in the extent to which petals wilt before abscission, even between cultivars of the same species. For example, tepals of Lilium longiflorum wilt substantially, while those of the closely related Lilium longiflorum×Asiatic hybrid (L.A.) abscise turgid. Furthermore, close comparison of petal death in these two Lilium genotypes shows that there is a dramatic fall in fresh weight/dry weight accompanied by a sharp increase in ion leakage in late senescent L. longiflorum tepals, neither of which occur in Lilium L.A. Despite these differences, a putative abscission zone was identified in both lilies, but while the detachment force was reduced to zero in Lilium L.A., wilting of the fused tepals in L. longiflorum occurred before abscission was complete. Abscission is often negatively regulated by auxin, and the possible role of auxin in regulating tepal abscission relative to wilting was tested in the two lilies. There was a dramatic increase in auxin levels with senescence in L. longiflorum but not in Lilium L.A. Fifty auxin-related genes were expressed in early senescent L. longiflorum tepals including 12 ARF-related genes. In Arabidopsis, several ARF genes are involved in the regulation of abscission. Expression of a homologous transcript to Arabidopsis ARF7/19 was 8-fold higher during senescence in L. longiflorum compared with abscising Lilium L.A., suggesting a conserved role for auxin-regulated abscission in monocotyledonous ethylene-insensitive flowers.