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J Plant Physiol. 2008 Dec;165(18):1917-28. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2008.04.009. Epub 2008 Jun 18.

Ethylene and ABA interactions in the regulation of flower induction in Pharbitis nil.

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Department of Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants, Institute of General and Molecular Biology, Nicolaus Copernicus University, 9 Gagarina Street, 87-100 Torun, Poland.


Hormones are included in the essential elements that control the induction of flowering. Ethylene is thought to be a strong inhibitor of flowering in short day plants (SDPs), whereas the involvement of abscisic acid (ABA) in the regulation of flowering of plants is not well understood. The dual role of ABA in the photoperiodic flower induction of the SDP Pharbitis nil and the interaction between ABA and ethylene were examined in the present experiments. Application of ABA on the cotyledons during the inductive 16-h-long night inhibited flowering. However, ABA application on the cotyledons or the shoot apices during the subinductive 12-h-long night resulted in slight stimulation of flowering. Application of ABA also resulted in enhanced ethylene production. Whereas nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) - an ABA biosynthesis inhibitor - applied on the cotyledons of 5-d-old seedlings during the inductive night inhibited both the formation of axillary and of terminal flower buds, application of 2-aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG) and 2,5-norbornadiene (NBD) - inhibitors of ethylene action - reversed the inhibitory effect of ABA on flowering. ABA levels in the cotyledons of seedlings exposed to a 16-h-long inductive night markedly increased. Such an effect was not observed when the inductive night was interrupted with a 15-min-long red light pulse or when seedlings were treated at the same time with gaseous ethylene during the dark period. Lower levels of ABA were observed in seedlings treated with NDGA during the inductive night. These results may suggest that ABA plays an important role in the photoperiodic induction of flowering in P. nil seedlings, and that the inhibitory effect of ethylene on P. nil flowering inhibition may depend on its influence on the ABA level. A reversal of the inhibitory effect of ethylene on flower induction through a simultaneous treatment of induced seedlings with both ethylene and ABA strongly supports this hypothesis.

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