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J Exp Bot. 2006;57(8):1633-44. Epub 2006 May 12.

Effect of ascorbate and its oxidation products on H2O2 production in cell-suspension cultures of Picea abies and in the absence of cells.

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  • 1The Edinburgh Cell Wall Group, Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Daniel Rutherford Building, The King's Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JH, UK.


Dehydroascorbate and traces of ascorbate were present apoplastically in living spruce (Picea abies) twigs. Since the proposed apoplastic ascorbate degradation pathway contains several steps that possibly generate H(2)O(2), the effects of ascorbate and some of its degradation products were tested on apoplastic H(2)O(2) concentrations in a cell culture of P. abies as a model and on non-enzymic H(2)O(2) production in vitro. Ascorbate scavenged H(2)O(2) in the culture medium of lignin-producing Picea cells and in spent and boiled spent medium; in the presence of Cu(2+) or fresh medium, ascorbate led to the non-enzymic generation of H(2)O(2). Preparations of dehydroascorbate (the initial oxidation-product of ascorbate), and diketogulonate (the hydrolysis-product of dehydroascorbate) induced H(2)O(2) accumulation both non-enzymically and enzymically in Picea cell-suspensions. Paper electrophoresis showed that the dehydroascorbate and diketogulonate preparations contained several degradation products; some of these probably contributed to H(2)O(2) production and/or scavenging in these experiments, and would also do so in vivo. These results indicate a complex ability of apoplastic ascorbate, dehydroascorbate, diketogulonate, and further products to modulate H(2)O(2) concentrations, with potential consequences for the control of growth, development and lignification.

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