Dormancy removal in apple embryos by nitric oxide or cyanide involves modifications in ethylene biosynthetic pathway

Agnieszka Gniazdowska, Urszula Krasuska, Renata Bogatek
Planta 2010, 232 (6): 1397-407
The connection between classical phytohormone-ethylene and two signaling molecules, nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen cyanide (HCN), was investigated in dormancy removal and germination "sensu stricto" of apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) embryos. Deep dormancy of apple embryos was removed by short-term (3-6 h) pre-treatment with NO or HCN. NO- or HCN-mediated stimulation of germination was associated with enhanced emission of ethylene by the embryos, coupled with transient increase in ROS concentration in embryos. Ethylene vapors stimulated germination of dormant apple embryos and eliminated morphological anomalies characteristic for young seedlings developed from dormant embryos. Inhibitors of ethylene receptors completely impeded beneficial effect of NO and HCN on embryo germination. NO- and HCN-induced ethylene emission by apple embryo was only slightly reduced by inhibitor of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) oxidase activity during first 4 days of germination. Short-term pre-treatment of the embryos with NO and HCN modified activity of both key enzymes of ethylene biosynthetic pathway: ACC synthase and ACC oxidase. Activity of ACC synthase declined during first 4 days of germination, while activity of ACC oxidase increased markedly at that time. Additional experiments point to non-enzymatic conversion of ACC to ethylene in the presence of ROS (H(2)O(2)). The results indicate that NO and HCN may alleviate dormancy of apple embryos "via" transient accumulation of ROS, leading to enhanced ethylene emission which is required to terminate germination "sensu stricto". Therefore, ethylene seems to be a trigger factor in control of apple embryo dormancy removal and germination.

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