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DNA and Flavonoids Leach out from Active Nuclei of Taxus and Tsuga after Extreme Climate Stresses

Unit Fruit Science, Center of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München, Dürnast 2, Freising 85354, Germany
Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, Giggenhauser Street 35, Freising 85354, Germany
Chair of Food Packaging Technology, Technische Universität München, Weihenstephaner Steig 22, Freising 85354, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dilantha Fernando
Plants 2015, 4(3), 710-727;
Received: 3 August 2015 / Revised: 16 September 2015 / Accepted: 17 September 2015 / Published: 21 September 2015
PDF [904 KB, uploaded 21 September 2015]


Severe over-stresses of climate caused dramatic changes in the intracellular distribution of the flavonoids. This was studied in needles from the current year’s growth of the following species and varieties: Tsuga canadensis, Taxus baccata, T. aurea, T. repens, T. nana, and T. compacta. The mode of steady changes in flavonoids was evaluated by microscopic techniques. Most of the flavonoids stain visibly yellow by themselves. The colorless flavanol subgroup can be stained blue by the DMACA reagent. In mid-summer 2013, outstanding high temperatures and intense photo-oxidative irradiation caused in a free-standing tree of Taxus baccata dramatic heat damage in a limited number of cells of the palisade layers. In these cells, the cytoplasm was burned brown. However, the nucleus maintained its healthy “blue” colored appearance which apparently was a result of antioxidant barrier effects by these flavanols. In late May 2014, excessive rainfall greatly affected all study trees. Collectively, in all study trees, a limited number of the mesophyll nuclei from the needless grown in 2013 and 2014 became overly turgid, enlarged in size and the flavanols leached outward through the damaged nuclear membranes. This diffusive stress event was followed one to three days later by a similar efflux of DNA. Such a complete dissolution of the nuclei in young tissues was the most spectacular phenomenon of the present study. As a common feature, leaching of both flavanols and DNA was markedly enhanced with increasing size and age of the cells. There is evidence that signalling flavonoids are sensitized to provide in nuclei and cytoplasm multiple mutual protective mechanisms. However, this well-orchestrated flavonoid system is broken down by extreme climate events. View Full-Text
Keywords: flavonoids; climate stress; Taxus; Tsuga; DNA; leaching flavonoids; climate stress; Taxus; Tsuga; DNA; leaching

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MDPI and ACS Style

Feucht, W.; Schmid, M.; Treutter, D. DNA and Flavonoids Leach out from Active Nuclei of Taxus and Tsuga after Extreme Climate Stresses. Plants 2015, 4, 710-727.

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