Putrescine Content Parallels Ammonia and Arginine Metabolism in Developing Flowers of the `Washington' Navel Orange

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521

Maximum leaf NH3-NH4+ content and activity of the de novo arginine biosynthetic pathway occurred during the 1st week after transfer of 5-year-old rooted cuttings of the `Washington' navel orange (Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck) from 8 weeks of low-temperature stress [8-hour days (500 μmol·s-1·m-2) at 15 to 18C/16-hour nights at 10 to 13C]. Both aspects declined in parallel during the subsequent 4 weeks of 12-hour days (500 μmol·s-1·m-2) at 24 C/12-hour nights at 19C, which culminated in maximum bloom. Apical flowers of inflorescences initiated in response to 8 weeks of low-temperature stress exhibited maximum tissue concentrations of NH3-NH4+ and putrescine, and maximum activity of the de novo arginine biosynthetic pathway 1 week after transfer of the trees from the low-temperature induction to the higher temperature (flower buds were 7 × 5 mm, length/width). All three criteria decreased in parallel as flowers developed through Stage V (petal fall). In contrast, spermine concentration increased 7-fold during Stage IV of flower development (flower opening). By Stage V, ovaries contained about equal concentrations of putrescine, spermidine, and spermine. The activity of the de novo tyrosine biosynthetic pathway exhibited a pattern of change independent of flower NH3-NH4+ concentration. Observed changes were not due to increased organ weight or size and persisted when the data were expressed per milligram protein. The results of this study demonstrate that leaves and floral buds undergo parallel changes in N metabolism in response to low-temperature, stress-induced flowering and provide evidence that flower NH3-NH4+ content and putrescine synthesis via argine are metabolically correlated during flower development in C. sinensis.

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