Leaf senescence represents the last stage of leaf development and is highly regulated by plant hormones and environmental factors. Leaf senescence limits growth and yields in crops, leading to a significant portion of agricultural loss. It is thus crucial to develop strategies to delay this physiological process. Melatonin, an extensively studied molecule, has been demonstrated to play a role in the regulation of leaf senescence in plants. Here, we report the role of exogenous melatonin in the alleviation of methyl jasmonate (MeJA)-induced senescence in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum
) leaves. The application of melatonin led to slower degradation of chlorophyll, reduced electrolyte leakage, decreased malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in tomato leaves incubated with MeJA. In addition, melatonin repressed the upregulation of senescence-related genes (SAG
) and chlorophyll degradation genes (SGR1
) in tomato leaves exposed to MeJA. Furthermore, melatonin stimulated the activity of a Calvin-Benson Cycle enzyme sedoheptulose-1,7-bisphosphatase (SBPase) and alleviated the inhibition of SlSBPASE
(tomato SBPase gene) expression and in MeJA-treated tomato leaves, suggesting an action of melatonin on the capacity for carbon fixation during senescence. Collectively, these results support a role for melatonin in the alleviation of MeJA-induced senescence in tomato leaves. This work also presents a case study that melatonin may be a useful agent in the delay of crop senescence in agricultural practice.
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