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    Adventitious root (AR) formation in axillary shoot tip cuttings is a crucial physiological process for ornamental propagation that is utilised in global production chains for young plants. In this process, the nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolisms of a cutting are regulated by its total nitrogen content (Nt), dark exposure during transport and irradiance levels at distinct production sites and phases through a specific plasticity to readjust metabolite pools. Here, we examined how elevated Nt contents with a combined dark exposure of cuttings influence their internal N-pools including free amino acids and considered early anatomic events of AR formation as well as further root development in Petunia hybrida cuttings. Enhanced Nt contents of unrooted cuttings resulted in elevated total free amino acid levels and in particular glutamate (glu) and glutamine (gln) in leaf and basal stem. N-allocation to mobile N-pools increased whereas the allocation to insoluble protein-N declined. A dark exposure of cuttings conserved initial Nt and nitrate-N, while it reduced insoluble protein-N and increased soluble protein, amino- and amide-N. The increase of amino acids mainly comprised asparagine (asn), aspartate (asp) and arginine (arg) in the leaves, with distinct tissue specific responses to an elevated N supply. Dark exposure induced an early transient rise of asp followed by a temporary increase of glu. A strong positive N effect of high Nt contents of cuttings on AR formation after 384 h was observed. Root meristematic cells developed at 72 h with a negligible difference for two Nt levels. After 168 h, an enhanced Nt accelerated AR formation and gave rise to first obvious fully developed roots while only meristems were formed with a low Nt. However, dark exposure for 168 h promoted AR formation particularly in cuttings with a low Nt to such an extent so that the benefit of the enhanced Nt was almost compensated. Combined dark exposure and low Nt of cuttings strongly reduced shoot growth during AR formation. The results indicate that both enhanced Nt content and dark exposure of cuttings reinforced N signals and mobile N resources in the stem base facilitated by senescence-related proteolysis in leaves. Based on our results, a model of N mobilisation concomitant with carbohydrate depletion and its significance for AR formation is postulated.


    Siegfried Zerche, Klaus-Thomas Haensch, Uwe Druege, Mohammad-Reza Hajirezaei. Nitrogen remobilisation facilitates adventitious root formation on reversible dark-induced carbohydrate depletion in Petunia hybrida. BMC plant biology. 2016 Oct 10;16(1):219

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    PMID: 27724871

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