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J Exp Bot. 2007;58(15-16):4235-44. Epub 2007 Dec 7.

Loss of viability of tomato pollen during long-term dry storage is associated with reduced capacity for translating polyamine biosynthetic enzyme genes after rehydration.

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  • 1Laboratory of Horticultural Crop Physiology, Faculty of Bioresources, Mie University, Tsu, Mie 514-8507, Japan.


The possibility that a loss of pollen viability during dry storage in a freezer is caused by the reduced pollen capacity to enhance polyamine biosynthetic enzyme activity after rehydration was investigated using pollen grains of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum=Lycopersicon esculentum) stored at -30 degrees C under dry conditions for up to 42 months. Pollen grains showed normal germinability for at least 12 months in storage, but those stored for longer than 24 months exhibited a significant reduction in germinability and fruit-setting ability. This age-dependent reduction in pollen viability coincided with the extent to which the pollen lost the capacity to increase arginine decarboxylase (ADC) and S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase (SAMDC) activities and polyamine contents upon rehydration. Immunoblot analysis indicated that the capacity of pollen to translate ADC and SAMDC mRNAs was impaired in accordance with the loss of viability. Also, the capacity to synthesize proteins in general decreased with the increase in storage duration. The addition of 1 mM putrescine, spermidine, or spermine to incubation medium promoted germination, impregnation of pollen grains with 1 mM spermidine restored fertilization ability, and the addition of 1 mM spermidine to incubation medium promoted protein synthesis exclusively in pollen grains which had been stored for a long time. These results indicate that the reduction in viability of tomato pollen during long-term dry storage in a freezer involves a decline in the capacity to enhance gene translation for polyamine biosynthetic enzymes upon rehydration.

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