N content of phloem and xylem exudates during the transition to flowering in Sinapis alba and Arabidopsis thaliana


Correspondence: L.Corbesier. Fax: +32 (0)4 366 38 31; e-mail: laurent.corbesier@ulg.ac.be


The involvement of nitrogenous substances in the transition to flowering was investigated in Sinapis alba and Arabidopsis thaliana (Columbia). Both species grown in short days (SD) are induced to flower by one long day (LD). In S. alba, the phloem sap (leaf and apical exudates) and the xylem sap (root exudate) were analysed in LD versus SD. In A. thaliana, only the leaf exudate could be analysed but an alternative system for inducing flowering without day-length extension was used: the displaced SD (DSD). Significant results are: (i) in both species, the leaf exudate was enriched in Gln during the inductive LD, at a time compatible with export of the floral stimulus; (ii) in S. alba, the root export of amino acids decreased in LD, whereas the nitrate remained unchanged – thus the extra-Gln found in the leaf exudate should originate from the leaves; (iii) extra-Gln was also found very early in the apical exudate of S. alba in LD, together with more Glu; (iv) in A. thaliana induced by one DSD, the leaf export of Asn increased sharply, instead of Gln in LD. This agrees with Asn prevalence in C-limited plants. The putative role of amino acids in the transition to flowering is discussed.