ABSTRACT: Plant growth regulators are involved in the control of potato (Solanum tuberosum) tuber dormancy. Evidence concerning the role of IAA is controversial; we therefore investigated its role by analyzing two cultivars with varying lengths of dormancy. We examined the time course of free and conjugated IAA in tuber tissue isolates from the final stages of tuber growth to the end of dormancy, the distribution of free IAA in tuber tissues by in situ analysis, and the biosynthesis of the hormone by feeding experiments. The time course of free IAA showed marked differences between the examined cultivars, although the concentration of the auxin generally was the highest at the early stages of tuber dormancy. Immunodetection showed a similar pattern of IAA distribution in both genotypes: in dormant buds from freshly harvested tubers, the free hormone accumulated mostly in apical meristem, leaf and lateral bud primordia, and differentiating vascular tissues underlying the apical meristem, while at the end of the storage period only axillary bud primordia from growing buds displayed appreciable auxin levels. Feeding experiments indicated that changes in IAA biosynthesis rate were a major cause of auxin variation in buds. In both cultivars, dormancy apparently ceased when free IAA fell below a threshold value. Despite this, our data led us to conclude that IAA would not be directly responsible for inhibiting sprouting. Instead, auxin might shorten dormancy, in a cultivar-dependent manner, by enhancing early developmental processes in buds, ultimately leading to dormancy termination.
Journal of plant physiology 04/2009; 166(10):1023-33. · 2.50 Impact Factor