Plant physiology and biochemistry : PPB

Ascorbic acid formation and profiling of genes expressed in its synthesis and recycling in apple leaves of different ages.

PMID 20159657


Ascorbic acid (AsA), as a unique antioxidant and enzyme cofactor, has multiple roles in plants. However, there is very limited information on the mechanism of AsA accumulation and controlling in leaves. In this study, we determined AsA accumulation levels, analyzed expression patterns of the genes involved in synthesizing via l-galactose pathway and recycling as well as enzyme activities in apple (Malus domestica Borkh) leaves with different age. AsA content was found to increase with leaf development, reaching the highest level in 20-day-old leaves. This level was maintained in mature leaves until the dropping in senescent leaves. Comparing with young and senescent leaves, mature leaves had higher capability for AsA synthesis with high expression levels and activity of l-galactose dehydrogenase and l-galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase. The mRNA expression of genes involved in AsA synthesis also showed highest abundance in 20-day-old leaves, though GDP-mannose-3',5'-epimerase and l-galactose-1-phosphate phosphatase expression reached the highest levels before 20 days old. These results suggest that AsA accumulation in apple leaves mainly occurs during the transition phase from young to mature leaves with high rates of synthesis and recycling, and that l-galactose-1-phosphate phosphatase could play an important role in regulating AsA biosynthesis via the l-galactose pathway.