Dormancy alleviation by NO or HCN leading to decline of protein carbonylation levels in apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) embryos

Urszula Krasuska, Katarzyna Ciacka, Karolina Dębska, Renata Bogatek, Agnieszka Gniazdowska
Journal of Plant Physiology 2014 August 15, 171 (13): 1132-41
Deep dormancy of apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) embryos can be overcome by short-term pre-treatment with nitric oxide (NO) or hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Dormancy alleviation of embryos modulated by NO or HCN and the first step of germination depend on temporary increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Direct oxidative attack on some amino acid residues or secondary reactions via reactive carbohydrates and lipids can lead to the formation of protein carbonyl derivatives. Protein carbonylation is a widely accepted covalent and irreversible modification resulting in inhibition or alteration of enzyme/protein activities. It also increases the susceptibility of proteins to proteolytic degradation. The aim of this work was to investigate protein carbonylation in germinating apple embryos, the dormancy of which was removed by pre-treatment with NO or HCN donors. It was performed using a quantitative spectrophotometric method, while patterns of carbonylated protein in embryo axes were analyzed by immunochemical techniques. The highest concentration of protein carbonyl groups was observed in dormant embryos. It declined in germinating embryos pre-treated with NO or HCN, suggesting elevated degradation of modified proteins during seedling formation. A decrease in the concentration of carbonylated proteins was accompanied by modification in proteolytic activity in germinating apple embryos. A strict correlation between the level of protein carbonyl groups and cotyledon growth and greening was detected. Moreover, direct in vitro carbonylation of BSA treated with NO or HCN donors was analyzed, showing action of both signaling molecules as protein oxidation agents.

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