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Comparative analysis of abscisic acid levels and expression of abscisic acid-related genes in Scots pine and Norway spruce seedlings under water deficit

Pashkovskiy, Pavel P., Vankova, Radomira, Zlobin, Ilya E., Dobrev, Petre, Ivanov, Yury V., Kartashov, Alexander V., Kuznetsov, Vladimir V.
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2019 v.140 pp. 105-112
Angiospermae, Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris, abscisic acid, biosynthesis, conifer needles, drought, enzymes, genes, messenger RNA, metabolites, plant response, polyethylene glycol, roots, seedlings, signal transduction, water stress
Abscisic acid (ABA) is one of the main participants in the regulation of plant responses to water deficiency. Knowledge of the ABA signal transduction pathways in gymnosperms is rather limited, especially in comparison with those in angiosperms. Seedlings of Scots pine and Norway spruce are known for their contrasting behaviour strategies under water deficit. To characterize the possible role of ABA in these differences, ABA dynamics were investigated under conditions of water deficit in seedlings of these two species. The content of ABA and its catabolites was followed in the roots and needles of seedlings of Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies under conditions of polyethylene glycol (PEG)-induced water deficiency (−0.15 and −0.5 MPa) for 10 days. The expression of the main genes for ABA-biosynthetic enzymes was also analysed. ABA showed more pronounced stress-dependent dynamics in pine roots than in spruce roots, whereas in needles, the response was greater for spruce than pine. The ABA increase during drought was mainly due to de novo synthesis and the shift in the balance between ABA synthesis and catabolism towards synthesis. The ABA-glucosyl ester did not serve as a reserve for the release of free ABA under water deficiency. The expression levels of the main ABA biosynthetic genes showed a weak or no correlation with changes in ABA content under water stress, i.e., the ABA content in the seedlings of both species was not directly linked to the transcript levels of the main ABA biosynthetic genes. Less-pronounced stress-induced changes in ABA in pine needles than in spruce needles may be related to pine seedlings having a less conservative strategy of growth and maintenance of water balance under water deficit.