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Plant J. 2003 Aug;35(3):405-17.

A method for profiling classes of plant hormones and their metabolites using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry: an analysis of hormone regulation of thermodormancy of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seeds.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6.


A highly selective and sensitive method for the simultaneous analysis of several plant hormones and their metabolites is described. The method combines high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with positive and negative electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) to quantify a broad range of chemically and structurally diverse compounds. The addition of deuterium-labeled analogs for these compounds prior to sample extraction permits accurate quantification by multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). Endogenous levels of abscisic acid (ABA), abscisic acid glucose ester (ABA-GE), 7'-hydroxy-abscisic acid (7'-OH-ABA), phaseic acid (PA), dihydrophaseic acid (DPA), indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), indole-3-aspartate (IAAsp), zeatin (Z), zeatin riboside (ZR), isopentenyladenine (2iP), isopentenyladenosine (IPA), and gibberellins (GA)1, GA3, GA4, and GA7 were determined simultaneously in a single run. Detection limits ranged from 0.682 fmol for Z to 1.53 pmol for ABA. The method was applied to the analysis of plant hormones and hormonal metabolites associated with seed dormancy and germination in lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. cv. Grand Rapids), using extracts from only 50 to 100 mg DW of seed. Thermodormancy was induced by incubating seeds at 33 degrees C instead of 23 degrees C. Germinating seeds transiently accumulated high levels of ABA-GE. In contrast, thermodormant seeds transiently accumulated high levels of DPA after 7 days at 33 degrees C. GA1 and GA3 were detected during germination, and levels of GA1 increased during early post-germinative growth. After several days of incubation, thermodormant seeds exhibited a striking transient accumulation of IAA, which did not occur in seeds germinating at 23 degrees C. We conclude that hormone metabolism in thermodormant seeds is surprisingly active and is significantly different from that of germinating seeds.

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