Domingos, S., Fino, J., Cardoso,V., Sánchez, C., Ramalho, J.C., Larcher, R., Paulo, O.S., Oliveira C.M. & Goulão, L.F. (2016) Shared and divergent pathways for flower abscission are triggered by gibberellic acid and carbon starvation in seedless Vitis vinifera L.BMC Evolutionary Biology, 16, 38. DOI:10.1186/s12870-016-0722-7 (IF2015 3,406; Q2 Evolutionary Biology)
Abscission is a highly coordinated developmental process by which plants control vegetative and reproductive organs load. Aiming at get new insights on flower abscission regulation, changes in the global transcriptome, metabolome and physiology were analyzed in ‘Thompson Seedless’ grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) inflorescences, using gibberellic acid (GAc) spraying and shading as abscission stimuli, applied at bloom.
Natural flower drop rates increased from 63.1 % in non-treated vines to 83 % and 99 % in response to GAc and shade treatments, respectively. Both treatments had a broad effect on inflorescences metabolism. Specific impacts from shade included photosynthesis inhibition, associated nutritional stress, carbon/nitrogen imbalance and cell division repression, whereas GAc spraying induced energetic metabolism simultaneously with induction of nucleotide biosynthesis and carbon metabolism, therefore, disclosing alternative mechanisms to regulate abscission. Regarding secondary metabolism, changes in flavonoid metabolism were the most represented metabolic pathways in the samples collected following GAc treatment while phenylpropanoid and stilbenoid related pathways were predominantly affected in the inflorescences by the shade treatment. However, both GAc and shade treated inflorescences revealed also shared pathways, that involved the regulation of putrescine catabolism, the repression of gibberellin biosynthesis, the induction of auxin biosynthesis and the activation of ethylene signaling pathways and antioxidant mechanisms, although often the quantitative changes occurred on specific transcripts and metabolites of the pathways.
Globally, the results suggest that chemical and environmental cues induced contrasting effects on inflorescence metabolism, triggering flower abscission by different mechanisms and pinpointing the participation of novel abscission regulators. Grapevine showed to be considered a valid model to study molecular pathways of flower abscission competence acquisition, noticeably responding to independent stimuli.