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gamma-Aminobutyric acid stimulates ethylene biosynthesis in sunflower

Kathiresan, A., Tung, P., Chinnappa, C.C., Reid, D.M.
Plant physiology 1997 v.115 no.1 pp. 129-135
Helianthus annuus, cotyledons, ethylene, biosynthesis, gamma-aminobutyric acid, quantitative analysis, carboxy-lyases, enzyme activity, laccase, radiolabeling, messenger RNA, glycine (amino acid), transcription (genetics), 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase, aminoethoxyvinylglycine
gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a nonprotein amino acid, is often accumulated in plants following environmental stimuli that can also cause ethylene production. We have investigated the relationship between GABA and ethylene production in excised sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) tissues. Exogenous GABA causes up to a 14-fold increase in the ethylene production rate after about 12 h. Cotyledons fed with [14C]GABA did not release substantial amounts of radioactive ethylene despite its chemical similarity to 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), indicating that GABA is not likely to be an alternative precursor for ethylene. GABA causes increases in ACC synthase mRNA accumulation, ACC levels, ACC oxidase mRNA levels, and in vitro ACC oxidase activity. In the presence of aminoethoxyvinylglycine or alpha-aminoisobutyric acid, GABA did not stimulate ethylene production. We therefore conclude that GABA stimulates ethylene biosynthesis mainly by promoting ACC synthase transcript abundance. Possible roles of GABA as a signal transducer are suggested.