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    Ethylene biosynthesis is regulated in reproductive tissues in response to heat stress in a manner to optimize resource allocation to pollinated fruits with developing seeds. High temperatures during reproductive development are particularly detrimental to crop fruit/seed production. Ethylene plays vital roles in plant development and abiotic stress responses; however, little is known about ethylene's role in reproductive tissues during development under heat stress. We assessed ethylene biosynthesis and signaling regulation within the reproductive and associated tissues of pea during the developmental phase that sets the stage for fruit-set and seed development under normal and heat-stress conditions. The transcript abundance profiles of PsACS [encode enzymes that convert S-adenosyl-L-methionine to 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC)] and PsACO (encode enzymes that convert ACC to ethylene), and ethylene evolution were developmentally, environmentally, and tissue-specifically regulated in the floral/fruit/pedicel tissues of pea. Higher transcript abundance of PsACS and PsACO in the ovaries, and PsACO in the pedicels was correlated with higher ethylene evolution and ovary senescence and pedicel abscission in fruits that were not pollinated under control temperature conditions. Under heat-stress conditions, up-regulation of ethylene biosynthesis gene expression in pre-pollinated ovaries was also associated with higher ethylene evolution and lower retention of these fruits. Following successful pollination and ovule fertilization, heat-stress modified PsACS and PsACO transcript profiles in a manner that suppressed ovary ethylene evolution. The normal ethylene burst in the stigma/style and petals following pollination was also suppressed by heat-stress. Transcript abundance profiles of ethylene receptor and signaling-related genes acted as qualitative markers of tissue ethylene signaling events. These data support the hypothesis that ethylene biosynthesis is regulated in reproductive tissues in response to heat stress to modulate resource allocation dynamics.


    Raghavendra P Savada, Jocelyn A Ozga, Charitha P A Jayasinghege, Kosala D Waduthanthri, Dennis M Reinecke. Heat stress differentially modifies ethylene biosynthesis and signaling in pea floral and fruit tissues. Plant molecular biology. 2017 Oct;95(3):313-331

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    PMID: 28861701

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