Effects of girdling on carbohydrate status and carbohydrate-related gene expression in citrus trees were investigated. Alternate-bearing 'Murcott' (a Citrus reticulata hybrid of unknown origin) trees were girdled during autumn (25 Sep. 2001) and examined 10 weeks later. Girdling brought about carbohydrate (soluble sugar and starch) accumulation in leaves and shoot bark above the girdle, in trees during their fruitless, 'off' year. Trees during their heavy fruit load, 'on' year did not accumulate carbohydrates above the girdle due to the high demand for carbohydrates by the developing fruit. Girdling caused a strong decline in soluble sugar and starch concentrations in organs below the girdle (roots), in both 'on' and 'off' trees. Expression of STPH-L and STPH-H (two isoforms of starch phosphorylase), Agps (ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, small subunit), AATP (plastidic ADP/ATP transporter), PGM-C (phosphoglucomutase) and CitSuS1 (sucrose synthase), all of which are associated with starch accumulation, was studied. It was found that gene expression is related to starch accumulation in all 'off' tree organs. RNA levels of all the genes examined were high in leaves and bark that accumulated high concentrations of starch, and low in roots with declining starch concentrations. It may be hypothesized that changes in specific sugars signal the up- and down-regulation of genes involved in starch synthesis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Thanks are due to Professor J. Riov (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by funds from Israeli Citrus Marketing Board to E.E.G.
- Alternate bearing
- Soluble sugar