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Plant physiology

Strigolactone Regulates Leaf Senescence in Concert with Ethylene in Arabidopsis.


PMID 25979917

Abstract

Leaf senescence is not a passive degenerative process; it represents a process of nutrient relocation, in which materials are salvaged for growth at a later stage or to produce the next generation. Leaf senescence is regulated by various factors, such as darkness, stress, aging, and phytohormones. Strigolactone is a recently identified phytohormone, and it has multiple functions in plant development, including repression of branching. Although strigolactone is implicated in the regulation of leaf senescence, little is known about its molecular mechanism of action. In this study, strigolactone biosynthesis mutant strains of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) showed a delayed senescence phenotype during dark incubation. The strigolactone biosynthesis genes MORE AXIALLY GROWTH3 (MAX3) and MAX4 were drastically induced during dark incubation and treatment with the senescence-promoting phytohormone ethylene, suggesting that strigolactone is synthesized in the leaf during leaf senescence. This hypothesis was confirmed by a grafting experiment using max4 as the stock and Columbia-0 as the scion, in which the leaves from the Columbia-0 scion senesced earlier than max4 stock leaves. Dark incubation induced the synthesis of ethylene independent of strigolactone. Strigolactone biosynthesis mutants showed a delayed senescence phenotype during ethylene treatment in the light. Furthermore, leaf senescence was strongly accelerated by the application of strigolactone in the presence of ethylene and not by strigolactone alone. These observations suggest that strigolactone promotes leaf senescence by enhancing the action of ethylene. Thus, dark-induced senescence is regulated by a two-step mechanism: induction of ethylene synthesis and consequent induction of strigolactone synthesis in the leaf.

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