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Meristem aging is not responsible for age-related changes in growth and abscisic acid levels in the Mediterranean shrub, Cistus clusii

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Plant Biology
Issue numbers1
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)148-155
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Event3rd European Workshop on Plant Senescence - Salzau, Germany
Duration: 1/02/2007 → …


Conference3rd European Workshop on Plant Senescence
Period1/02/07 → …


To obtain new insights into the mechanisms underlying aging in perennials, we measured abscisic acid levels, growth and other stress indicators in leaves of Cistus clusii Dunal plants of different ages grown under Mediterranean field conditions. Recently emerged leaves from 9-year-old plants were compared to those of 1-year-old plants (obtained from cuttings from 9-year-old plants) to evaluate the effects of meristem aging on plant aging. Rooting and successful establishment of the cuttings allowed us to compare the physiology of plants with old meristems, but of different size. Plants obtained from cuttings were rejuvenated, with new leaves displaying a higher leaf area and chlorophyll content, but smaller leaf mass per unit area ratios and endogenous abscisic acid levels than those of 9-year-old plants. A comparative study in 1-, 4- and 9-year-old plants revealed that abscisic acid levels increase during the early stages of plant life (with increases of 90% between 1- and 4-year-old plants), but then remain constant at advanced developmental stages (between 4- and 9-year-old plants). Although leaf biomass was 53% smaller in 9-year-old compared to 4-year-old plants, the dry matter produced per shoot apical meristem was equivalent in both plant groups due to an increased number of leaves per shoot in the former. It is concluded that (i) C. clusii plants maintain the capacity to rejuvenate for several years; (ii) newly emerged leaves accumulate higher amounts of abscisic acid during early stages of plant life, but the levels of this phytohormone later remain constant; and (iii) although plant aging leads to the production of smaller leaves, the amount of biomass produced per shoot apical meristem remains constant at advanced developmental stages.