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Plant Physiol. 1982 Feb;69(2):405-10.

Relation of polyamine synthesis and titer to aging and senescence in oat leaves.

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Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticutt 06511.


Polyamine biosynthesis in senescing leaves of Avena sativa L. was measured by determining the activities of arginine decarboxylase (EC, ornithine decarboxylase (EC and S-adenosyl-l-methionine decarboxylase (EC Polyamine content was also estimated by thin layer chromatography and high performance liquid chromatography. Arginine decarboxylase activity decreases progressively in aging attached first leaves and in senescing excised leaves in the dark. Conversely, it increases during light exposure of excised leaves, which retards senescence. Ornithine decarboxylase activity is high and constant in the attached leaf, irrespective of age; it decreases in excised leaves kept in the dark and in the light, irrespective of senescence. S-Adenosyl-l-methionine decarboxylase shows no correlation with age or senescence. Levels of putrescine, diaminopropane, agmatine, and spermidine are high in young leaves and decline with age. The best single indicator of senescence is usually spermidine, which decreases in excised leaves incubated in the dark, but increases in such leaves with time of light exposure. Spermidine generally has a reciprocal relationship with putrescine, indicating that spermidine synthase, which converts putrescine to spermidine, may exert important physiological control. These data support the view that polyamines play an important role in the regulation of plant development.

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