Sucrose prevents up-regulation of senescence-associated genes in carnation petals

F.A. Hoeberichts, W.G. van Doorn, O.F.J. Vorst, R.D. Hall, M.F. van Wordragen

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    cDNA microarrays were used to characterize senescence-associated gene expression in petals of cut carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) flowers, sampled from anthesis to the first senescence symptoms. The population of PCR fragments spotted on these microarrays was enriched for flower-specific and senescence-specific genes, using subtractive hybridization. About 90% of the transcripts showed a large increase in quantity, approximately 25% transiently, and about 65% throughout the 7 d experiment. Treatment with silver thiosulphate (STS), which blocks the ethylene receptor and prevented the normal senescence symptoms, prevented the up-regulation of almost all of these genes. Sucrose treatment also considerably delayed visible senescence. Its effect on gene expression was very similar to that of STS, suggesting that soluble sugars act as a repressor of ethylene signal transduction. Two fragments that encoded a carnation EIN3-like (EIL) protein were isolated, some of which are key transcription factors that control ethylene response genes. One of these (Dc-EIL3) was up-regulated during senescence. Its up-regulation was delayed by STS and prevented by sucrose. Sucrose, therefore, seems to repress ethylene signalling, in part, by preventing up-regulation of Dc-EIL3. Some other transcription factors displayed an early increase in transcript abundance: a MYB-like DNA binding protein, a MYC protein, a MADS-box factor, and a zinc finger protein. Genes suggesting a role in senescence of hormones other than ethylene encoded an Aux/IAA protein, which regulate transcription of auxin-induced genes, and a cytokinin oxidase/dehydrogenase, which degrades cytokinin. Taken together, the results suggest a master switch during senescence, controlling the co-ordinated up-regulation of numerous ethylene response genes. Dc-EIL3 might be (part of) this master switch.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2873-2885
    JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • flower senescence
    • leaf senescence
    • molecular-cloning
    • plant development
    • cut carnation
    • cell-death
    • ethylene
    • expression
    • arabidopsis
    • pathway


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