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Plant Signal Behav. 2013 Jul;8(7):e24737. doi: 10.4161/psb.24737. Epub 2013 Jul 1.

Cytokinin inhibition of leaf senescence.

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Department of Biological Sciences; Auburn University; Auburn, AL USA.


The senescence delaying effect of cytokinin is well known, however, the details behind how this process occurs remain unclear. Efforts to improve understanding of this phenomenon have led to the identification in Arabidopsis of specific cytokinin signaling components through which senescence signal responses are regulated. These include the cytokinin receptor (AHK3), the type-B response regulator (ARR2) and the recently identified cytokinin response factor (CRF6). At the mechanistic end of this process, it was found that increased cell-wall invertase activity which occurs in response to cytokinin is both necessary and sufficient for the inhibition of senescence. Yet, a direct link between the signaling and mechanistic steps of a cytokinin regulated senescence process has yet to be demonstrated. This may be in part because the relationship between senescence and primary metabolism implied by the key role of cell-wall invertase is the subject of two apparently opposing bodies of evidence. Here we briefly summarize and propose a model in which cytokinin mediated changes in sink/source relationships leads to delayed senescence which is consistent with existing evidence both for and against sugars as a trigger for developmental senescence.


carbon allocation; cell wall invertase; cytokinin; leaf; senescence; sink/source relationships

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