Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Ascorbate and glutathione metabolism during development and desiccation of orthodox and recalcitrant seeds of the genus Acer

Stanislawa Pukacka A B and Ewelina Ratajczak A

A Seed Biochemistry Laboratory, Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences, 62-035 Kórnik, Poland.

B Corresponding author. Email: spukacka@man.poznan.pl

Functional Plant Biology 34(7) 601-613 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP07013
Submitted: 20 January 2007  Accepted: 4 April 2007   Published: 4 July 2007

Abstract

The ascorbate–glutathione system was studied during development and desiccation of seeds of two Acer species differing in desiccation tolerance: Norway maple (Acer platanoides L., orthodox) and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L., recalcitrant). The results showed remarkable differences in the concentration and redox balance of ascorbate and glutathione between these two kinds of seeds during development, and a significant dependence between glutathione content and acquisition of desiccation tolerance in Norway maple seeds. There were relatively small differences between the species in the activities of enzymes of the ascorbate–glutathione cycle: ascorbate peroxidase (APX, EC 1.11.1.11), monodehydroascorbate reductase (MR, EC 1.6.5.4), dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR, EC 1.8.5.1), and glutathione reductase (GR, EC 1.6.4.2). At the end of seed maturation, ascorbic acid content and the activities of the above enzymes was about the same in both species The electrophoretic pattern of APX isoenzymes was also similar for both species, and the intensity of the bands decreased at the end of seed maturation in both species. When sycamore seeds were desiccated to a moisture content of less than 26%, there was a marked decrease in seed viability and an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species. During desiccation, Norway maple seeds had a more active defence system, which was reflected in a higher glutathione content, a higher glutathione redox status, a higher ascorbate redox status, and higher activities of APX, MR, DHAR, GR and GPX (glutathione peroxidase). During desiccation, sulfhydryl-to-disulfide transition into proteins was more intense in Norway maple seeds than sycamore seeds. All of these results suggest that, in orthodox seeds, the ascorbate–glutathione cycle plays an important role in the acquisition of tolerance to desiccation, in protein maturation, and in protection from reactive oxygen species.

Additional keywords: ascorbic acid, ascorbate peroxidase, dehydroascorbate reducrase, glutathione reductase, monodehydroascorbate reductase, redox balance.


Acknowledgements

This study was supported by research funds of the Polish Ministry of Sciences and Education.


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