Abscisic acid substantially inhibits senescence of cucumber plants (Cucumis sativus) grown under low nitrogen conditions

Mariko Oka, Yousuke Shimoda, Naoko Sato, Junya Inoue, Teru Yamazaki, Norihiro Shimomura, Hideyasu Fujiyama
Journal of Plant Physiology 2012 May 15, 169 (8): 789-96
Low nitrogen (N) availability such as that found in both dry land and tropical regions limits plant growth and development. The relationship between the level of abscisic acid (ABA) in a plant and its growth under low-N conditions was investigated. The level of ABA in cucumber (Cucumis sativus) plants under low-N conditions was significantly higher at 10 and 20 d after transplantation compared with that under sufficient-N conditions. Chlorophyll was preserved in the aerial parts of cucumber plants grown under low-N conditions in the presence of ABA, while there was no significant difference between control plants and ABA-applied plants under sufficient-N conditions. ABA suppressed the reduction of chlorophyll biosynthesis under low-N conditions but not under sufficient-N conditions. On the other hand, ABA decreased the expression of the chlorophyll degradation gene in older cucumber plants grown under both conditions. In addition, transcript and protein levels of a gene encoding a chlorophyll a/b binding protein were positively correlated with ABA concentration under low-N conditions. The chloroplasts in control plants were round, and the stack of thylakoid membranes was reduced compared with that of plants treated with ABA 10(-5) M. These results strongly suggest that ABA is accumulated in cucumber plants grown under low-N conditions and that accumulated ABA promotes chlorophyll biosynthesis and inhibits its degradation in those plants.

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