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Plant Physiol. 1993 Jun;102(2):521-527.

Identification of Catabolites of Chlorophyll-Porphyrin in Senescent Rape Cotyledons.

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Department of Plant Biology, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrasse 107, CH-8008 Zurich, Switzerland.


Developing shoots of rape seedlings (Brassica napus L.) were excised and fed with 4-[14C]5-aminolevulinic acid to label the pyrroles in chlorophyll (Chl) synthesized during the final phase of expansion and greening of the cotyledons. About 80% of 14C taken up into the cotyledons was incorporated into Chl. The subsequent incubation of labeled shoots in permanent darkness caused the rapid loss of labeled Chl while increasing proportions of 14C appeared in the fraction of water-soluble compounds. Reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography resolved three nonfluorescent polar catabolites of Chl-porphyrin that were progressively accumulated as senescence advanced. At intermediate stages of senescence, the cotyledons contained a fluorescent radio-active derivative of Chl that was also detectable, together with traces of other putative fluorescent catabolites, in isolated senescent chloroplasts. The nonfluorescent catabolites, identified by means of radiolabeling, were also found to accumulate in attached cotyledons senescing under photoperiod; under these conditions, one of the compounds, NCC-1, was particularly abundant. The catabolites of rape exhibited the same ultraviolet spectra, characterized by a maximum at 320 nm, as a previously reported secoporphinoid catabolite from barley (B. Krautler, B. Jaun, W. Amrein, K. Bortlik, M. Schellenberg, P. Matile [1992] Plant Physiol Biochem 30: 333-346). Different polarities suggest, however, that the structures may be different. A terminology for Chl catabolites is proposed because present knowledge suggests that a large number of different structures results from species-specific processing of breakdown products and may require a suitable nomenclature.

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