Despite its agronomic importance, the metabolic networks mediating phosphorus (P) remobilization during plant senescence are poorly understood. Highly efficient P remobilization (~85%) from senescing leaves and proteoid roots of harsh hakea (Hakea prostrata), a native 'extremophile' plant of south-western Australia, was linked with striking up-regulation of cell wall-localized and intracellular acid phosphatase (APase) and RNase activities. Non-denaturing PAGE followed by in-gel APase activity staining revealed senescence-inducible 120kDa and 60kDa intracellular APase isoforms, whereas only the 120kDa isoform was detected in corresponding cell wall fractions. Kinetic and immunological properties of the 120kDa and 60kDa APases partially purified from senescing leaves indicated that they are purple acid phosphatases (PAPs). Results obtained with cell wall-targeted hydrolases of harsh hakea were corroborated using Arabidopsis thaliana in which an ~200% increase in cell wall APase activity during leaf senescence was paralleled by accumulation of immunoreactive 55kDa AtPAP26 polypeptides. Senescing leaves of an atpap26 T-DNA insertion mutant displayed a >90% decrease in cell wall APase activity. Previous research established that senescing leaves of atpap26 plants exhibited a similar reduction in intracellular (vacuolar) APase activity, while displaying markedly impaired P remobilization efficiency and delayed senescence. It is hypothesized that up-regulation and dual targeting of PAPs and RNases to the cell wall and vacuolar compartments make a crucial contribution to highly efficient P remobilization that dominates the P metabolism of senescing tissues of harsh hakea and Arabidopsis. To the best of the authors' knowledge, the apparent contribution of cell wall-targeted hydrolases to remobilizing key macronutrients such as P during senescence has not been previously suggested.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; Hakea prostrata; Proteaceae; cell wall hydrolases; phosphorus remobilization; purple acid phosphatase; ribonuclease; senescence..
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.