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Analyses of abscisic acid (ABA), ent-kaurenoids and gibberellins (GAs) showed that there were major changes in the contents of these compounds associated with germination of after-ripened barley (Hordeum vulgare cv. Schooner and cv. Proctor) grain but not in hydrated dormant grain. Embryos from dormant and after-ripened dry grain contained similar amounts of ABA, of ent-kaurenoids and of GAs, determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry-selected ion monitoring. In embryos of after-ripened grain, ABA content decreased rapidly after hydration and ABA appeared to be metabolized (inactivated) to phaseic acid (PA) rather than diffusing into the endosperm or the surrounding medium as previously thought. Similar changes in ABA occurred in hydrated dormant grain during germination in darkness. Accumulation of ent-kaurenoids and GAs, including GA1, the first biologically active GA in the early 13-hydroxylation biosynthetic pathway, occurred to a much greater extent in after-ripened than in dormant grain and these changes occurred mainly after 18 h of hydration when ABA had already decreased and germination was occurring. The block in ent-kaurenoid and GA synthesis in dormant grain appeared to occur prior to ent-kaurene in the biosynthetic pathway. These results are consistent with the view that ABA is the primary effector of dormancy and that after-ripening involves the development of the ability to reduce the amount of ABA quickly following hydration. Accumulation of GAs does not appear to be causally related to loss of dormancy but it does appear to be related to germination.
We identified a dwarf transgenic hybrid poplar (Populus tremula × Populus alba) after screening of 627 independent activation-tagged transgenic lines in tissue culture, greenhouse, and field environments. The cause of the phenotype was a hyperactivated gene encoding GA 2-oxidase (GA2ox), the major gibberellin (GA) catabolic enzyme in plants. The mutation resulted from insertion of a strong transcriptional enhancer near the transcription start site. Overexpression of the poplar GA2ox gene (PtaGA2ox1) caused hyperaccumulation of mRNA transcripts, quantitative shifts in the spectrum of GAs, and similarity in phenotype to transgenic poplars that overexpress a bean (Phaseolus coccineus) GA2ox gene. The poplar PtaGA2ox1 sequence was most closely related to PsGA2ox2 from pea (Pisum sativum) and two poorly known GA2oxs from Arabidopsis (AtGA2ox4 and AtGA2ox5). The dwarf phenotype was reversible through gibberellic acid application to the shoot apex. Transgenic approaches to producing semidwarf trees for use in arboriculture, horticulture, and forestry could have significant economic and environmental benefits, including altered fiber and fruit production, greater ease of management, and reduced risk of spread in wild populations.
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