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Genetic Variation Suggests Interaction between Cold Acclimation and Metabolic Regulation of Leaf Senescence

Masclaux-Daubresse, Céline, Purdy, Sarah, Lemaitre, Thomas, Pourtau, Nathalie, Taconnat, Ludivine, Renou, Jean-Pierre, Wingler, Astrid
Plant physiology 2007 v.143 no.1 pp. 434-446
Arabidopsis thaliana, acclimation, chloroplasts, cold, cold stress, gene expression regulation, genes, genetic background, genetic variation, glucose, inbred lines, leaves, longevity, microarray technology, nitrogen, phosphates, reducing sugars, senescence, stress response, transcriptome
The extent to which leaf senescence is induced by nitrogen deficiency or by sugar accumulation varies between natural accessions of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Analysis of senescence in plants of the Bay-0 x Shahdara recombinant inbred line (RIL) population revealed a large variation in developmental senescence of the whole leaf rosette, which was in agreement with the extent to which glucose (Glc) induced senescence in the different lines. To determine the regulatory basis of genetic differences in the Glc response, we investigated changes in gene expression using Complete Arabidopsis Transcriptome MicroArray (CATMA) analysis. Genes whose regulation did not depend on the genetic background, as well as genes whose regulation was specific to individual RILs, were identified. In RIL 310, a line that does not show the typical senescence response to Glc, stress response genes, especially those responding to cold stress, were induced by Glc. We therefore tested whether cold acclimation delays senescence by reducing sugar sensitivity. In cold-acclimated plants, leaf senescence was severely delayed and Glc did not induce the typical senescence response. Together, our results suggest that cold acclimation extends rosette longevity by affecting metabolic regulation of senescence, thereby allowing vernalization-dependent plants to survive the winter period. The role of functional chloroplasts and of nitrogen and phosphate availability in this regulation is discussed.