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J Plant Physiol. 2012 May 15;169(8):789-96. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2012.02.001. Epub 2012 Mar 10.

Abscisic acid substantially inhibits senescence of cucumber plants (Cucumis sativus) grown under low nitrogen conditions.

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Tottori University, Koyamacho-minami 4-101, Tottori 680-8553, Japan.


Low nitrogen (N) availability such as that found in both dry land and tropical regions limits plant growth and development. The relationship between the level of abscisic acid (ABA) in a plant and its growth under low-N conditions was investigated. The level of ABA in cucumber (Cucumis sativus) plants under low-N conditions was significantly higher at 10 and 20 d after transplantation compared with that under sufficient-N conditions. Chlorophyll was preserved in the aerial parts of cucumber plants grown under low-N conditions in the presence of ABA, while there was no significant difference between control plants and ABA-applied plants under sufficient-N conditions. ABA suppressed the reduction of chlorophyll biosynthesis under low-N conditions but not under sufficient-N conditions. On the other hand, ABA decreased the expression of the chlorophyll degradation gene in older cucumber plants grown under both conditions. In addition, transcript and protein levels of a gene encoding a chlorophyll a/b binding protein were positively correlated with ABA concentration under low-N conditions. The chloroplasts in control plants were round, and the stack of thylakoid membranes was reduced compared with that of plants treated with ABA 10(-5) M. These results strongly suggest that ABA is accumulated in cucumber plants grown under low-N conditions and that accumulated ABA promotes chlorophyll biosynthesis and inhibits its degradation in those plants.

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