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Keywords:

  • ACC oxidase;
  • ACC synthase;
  • ethylene;
  • polyamines;
  • Pterocladiella;
  • Rhodophyta;
  • seaweed

The effects of ethylene (C2H4) on tetrasporogenesis of the red seaweed Pterocladiella capillacea (S. G. Gmelin) Bornet were investigated. Ethylene is a gaseous hormone that is involved in a variety of physiological processes (e.g., flowering, fruit abscission) in higher plants. To study the effects of ethylene on the reproduction of the red seaweed P. capillacea, immature tetrasporophytic thalli were exposed to a flow of ethylene for different time periods. Maximum maturation of tetrasporangia was observed at 7 d in thalli exposed to ethylene for 15 min. This maturation was accompanied by a significant increase in the free fraction of putrescine (Put) and a 5-fold increase in the level of total RNA. These changes were specifically due to ethylene since they were blocked by the presence of the ethylene perception inhibitor silver thiosulphate (STS). Moreover, P. capillacea was determined to produce ethylene at a rate of 1.12 ± 0.06 nmol ethylene · h−1· g−1 fresh weight (fwt) with specific activities for 1-aminocyclopropane-1-acrylic acid (ACC) synthase of 11.21 ± 1.19 nmol ethylene · h−1· mg−1 protein and for ACC oxidase (ACO) of 7.12 ± 0.11 nmol ethylene · h−1· mg−1 protein. We conclude that ethylene may indeed be a physiological regulator of tetrasporogenesis in this red seaweed.