The Involvement of Lipid Signaling in Citrus Fruit Abscission

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  • 1 University of Florida, Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL, 33850

Abscission is a natural plant process that culminates in the removal of organs from the parent plant. Control of abscission remains an important goal of agriculture, but events that initiate and transduce abscission signals have not been well defined. An understanding of these events may reveal pathways that can be targeted to control abscission. The compound 5-chloro-3-methyl-4-nitro-1H-pyrazole (CMNP) is a pyrazole-derivative that induces abscission selectively in mature citrus (Citrus sinensis) fruit when applied to the canopy. Peel contact is essential for efficacy. Previous work identified CMNP as an uncoupler. Timing of CMNP-induced events in citrus flavedo indicated that increased reactive oxygen species and electrolyte leakage occurred within 30 minutes and 2 hours after application, whereas reduced ATP content was measured 3 hours after application. Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and lipoxygenase (LOX) activities, and lipid hydroperoxide (LPO) levels increased in flavedo of citrus fruit peel treated with CMNP, indicating that the lipid signaling pathway was activated. A specific inhibitor of PLA2 activity, aristolochic acid (AT), reduced CMNP-induced increases in PLA2 and LOX activities and LPO levels in citrus flavedo and greatly reduced abscission, suggesting that production of phospholipid-derived signals influence abscission process. However, AT treatment failed to halt the reduction in ATP content, indicating that reduction in ATP preceded the increase in PLA2 activity and the biological response. The results demonstrate a link between lipid signaling and abscission in citrus.

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