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Keywords:

  • Cytokinin metabolism and biosynthesis;
  • cytokinin translocation;
  • leaf senescence;
  • Nicotiana rustica;
  • tobacco;
  • xylem sap

Cytokinin bases (zeatin and dihydrozeatin) and ribosides (zeatin riboside and dihydrozeatin riboside) were identified as major cytokinins in tobacco xylem sap by radioimmunoassay. When 3H-labelled zeatin riboside or dihydrozeatin riboside were supplied to tobacco plants via the xylem, leaves of differing maturity did not differ appreciably in level of radioactivity or in metabolism of the cytokinin. The major metabolites of zeatin riboside in leaves were adenine, adenosine and adenine nucleotides, whereas that of dihydrozeatin riboside was dihydrozeatin 7-glucoside. Incorporation of [14C]adenine into zeatin was evident in upper green leaves. indicating that young leaves have the capacity to synthesize cytokinins in situ. In contrast, fully expanded green leaves and senescing tobacco leaves exhibited little or no incorporation of [14C]adenine into cytokinins. This difference in cytokinin biosynthetic capacity may contribute to the differing cytokinin levels in leaves of different matirity, and may participate in control of sequential leaf senescence in tobacco.