We have designed an in vitro experimental setup to study the role of sucrose in sugar-mediated acclimation of banana meristems using established highly proliferating meristem cultures. It is a first step toward the systems biology of a meristem and the understanding of how it can survive severe abiotic stress. Using the 2D-DIGE proteomic approach and a meristem-specific EST library, we describe the long-term acclimation response of banana meristems (after 2, 4, 8, and 14 days) and analyze the role of sucrose in this acclimation by setting up a control, a sorbitol, and a sucrose acclimation treatment over time. Sucrose synthase is the dominant enzyme for sucrose breakdown in meristem tissue, which is most likely related to its lower energy consumption. Metabolizing sucrose is of paramount importance to survive, but the uptake of sugar and its metabolism also drive respiration, which may result in limited oxygen levels. According to our data, a successful acclimation is correlated to an initial efficient uptake of sucrose and subsequently a reduced breakdown of sucrose and an induction of fermentation likely by a lack of oxygen.
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