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Abscisic acid biosynthesis in roots: I. The identification of potential abscisic acid precursors, and other carotenoids

Andrew D. Parry and Roger Horgan
Planta
Vol. 187, No. 2 (1992), pp. 185-191
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23381566
Page Count: 7
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Abscisic acid biosynthesis in roots: I. The identification of potential abscisic acid precursors, and other carotenoids
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Abstract

The pathway of water-stress-induced abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis in etiolated and light-grown leaves has been elucidated (see A.D. Parry and R. Horgan, 1991, Physiol. Plant. 82, 320—326). Roots also have the ability to synthesise ABA in response to stress and it was therefore of interest to examine root extracts for the presence of carotenoids, including those known to be ABA precursors in leaves. All-trans- and 9′-cis-neoxanthin, all-trans- and 9-cis-violaxanthin, antheraxanthin (all potential ABA precursors), lutein and β-carotene were identified on the basis of absorbance spectra, reactions with dilute acid, retention times upon high-performance liquid chromatography and by comparison with leaf carotenoids that had been analysed by mass spectrometry. The source of the extracted carotenoids was proved to be root tissue, and not contaminating compost or leaf material. The levels of total carotenoids in roots varied between 0.03—0.07% of the levels in light-grown leaves (Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh, Nicotiana plumbaginifolia Viv., Phaseolus vulgaris L. and Pisum sativum L.) up to 0.27% (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). The relative carotenoid composition was very different from that found in leaves, and varied much more between species. All-trans-neoxanthin and violaxanthin were the major carotenoids present (64—91% of the total), but while Lycopersicon contained 67—80% all-trans-neoxanthin, Phaseolus, Pisum and Zea mays L. contained 61—79% all-trans-violaxanthin. Carotenoid metabolism also varied between species, with most of the carotenoids in older roots of Phaseolus being esterified. Roots and leaves of the ABA-deficient aba mutant of Arabidopsis had reduced epoxy-xanthophyll levels compared to the wild-type.

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