In general, yield and fruit quality strongly rely on efficient nutrient remobilization during plant development and senescence. Transcriptome changes associated with senescence in spring oilseed rape grown under optimal nitrogen supply or mild nitrogen deficiency revealed differences in senescence and nutrient mobilization in old lower canopy leaves and younger higher canopy leaves. Having a closer look at this transcriptome analyses, we identified the major classes of seed storage proteins (SSP) to be expressed in vegetative tissue, namely leaf and stem tissue. Expression of SSPs was not only dependent on the nitrogen supply but transcripts appeared to correlate with intracellular H2
contents, which functions as well-known signaling molecule in developmental senescence. The abundance of SSPs in leaf material transiently progressed from the oldest leaves to the youngest. Moreover, stems also exhibited short-term production of SSPs, which hints at an interim storage function. In order to decipher whether hydrogen peroxide also functions as a signaling molecule in nitrogen deficiency-induced senescence, we analyzed hydrogen peroxide contents after complete nitrogen depletion in oilseed rape and Arabidopsis plants. In both cases, hydrogen peroxide contents were lower in nitrogen deficient plants, indicating that at least parts of the developmental senescence program appear to be suppressed under nitrogen deficiency.
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