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The Sucrose Starvation Signal Mediates Induction of Autophagy- and Amino Acid Catabolism-Related Genes in Cowpea Seedling

Author(s): Ayami Kaneko | Eri Noguchi | Yushi Ishibashi | Takashi Yuasa | Mari Iwaya-Inoue

Journal: American Journal of Plant Sciences
ISSN 2158-2742

Volume: 04;
Issue: 03;
Start page: 647;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Amino acid Catabolism | ATG | Autophagy | BCAT | Cowpea | Starvation Stress

In higher plants, autophagy is bulk degradation process in vacuole necessary for survival under nutrient-limited conditions and plays important roles in senescence, development and pathogenic response, etc. Cowpea is one of the most important legume crops in semi-aride region, which is highly tolerant to drought stress. Changes of photoassimilate status by drought stress and/or sink-source balance appeared to affect autophagy and senescence of leaf in cowpea. Accordingly, we focused on roles of sucrose signal in autophagy and amino acid recycling in cowpea. Effects of starvation stress on the expression of autophagy-related genes (ATGs) and amino acid catabolism-related genes in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp] were examined by Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and anti-ATG8i specific antibody. Sucrose starvation stress enhanced the expression levels of VuATG8i, VuATG8c and VuATG4 incowpea seedlings. The expressions of amino acid catabolism related genes, such as asparagine synthase (VuASN1), proline dehydrogenase1 (VuProDH) and branched chain amino acid transaminase (VuBCAT2), are also up-regulated under the sucrose starvation. In contrast, high sucrose condition suppressed autophagy and the expressions of ATGs. These results indicate that sucrose starvation stress stimulates both autophagy and amino acid catabolism by regulation of ATGs and VuBCAT2. It is conceivable that sucrose starvation stress enhances autophagy in cowpea, possibly via branched chain amino acid level regulated by the starvation-induced BCAT.
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