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

High Temperature Affects the Activity of Enzymes in the Committed Pathway of Starch Synthesis in Developing Wheat Endosperm

JS Hawker and CF Jenner

Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 20(2) 197 - 209
Published: 1993


Ears of wheat were exposed for up to 10 days during the grain-filling stage to high temperature (35ºC) and activities of five enzymes in the sucrose to starch pathway were compared to those in ears maintained at lower temperature (21ºC day/16ºC night). Two cultivars of wheat known to differ in their post-anthesis tolerance of high temperature were compared. On a per grain basis, the activity of sucrose synthase and of ADPglucose pyrophosphorylase in ears maintained at 21/16ºC throughout did not change greatly between days 16 and 32 after anthesis, whereas UDPglucose pyrophosphorylase and soluble starch synthase activities declined with advancing development.

Soluble starch synthase activity in grains of heated ears was decreased within 1 day to about one- half of the value in unheated grains, and 3 days' additional heating did not reduce the activity much further. Insoluble starch synthase activity was not significantly reduced by heating. Compared to soluble starch synthase, ADPglucose pyrophosphorylase activity was more slowly affected and decreased to a lesser extent by heat. Sucrose synthase and UDPglucose pyrophosphorylase activities were either not affected or only slightly reduced; part of this reduction could be due to advanced development at the higher temperature. In recovery experiments ears were heated for brief periods and then returned to 21/16ºC for a few days. ADPglucose pyrophosphorylase and soluble starch synthase activities recovered in the cooler conditions but the other two enzymes generally only maintained or lost further activity. From a comparison of the activities of these enzymes with the rate of starch deposition, and by taking into account the effects of heating, it is proposed that the influence of heating on final grain dry weight is attributable to the observed reductions of soluble starch synthase activity.

© CSIRO 1993

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