A Low Glutathione Redox State Couples with a Decreased Ascorbate Redox Ratio to Accelerate Flowering in Oncidium Orchid

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Glutathione (GSH) plays multiple roles in plants, including stress defense and regulation of growth/development. Previous studies have demonstrated that the ascorbate (AsA) redox state is involved in flowering initiation in Oncidium orchid. In this study, we discovered that a significantly decreased GSH content and GSH redox ratio are correlated with a decline in the AsA redox state during flowering initiation and high ambient temperature-induced flowering. At the same time, the expression level and enzymatic activity of GSH redox-regulated genes, glutathione reductase (GR1), and the GSH biosynthesis genes γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase (GSH1) and glutathione synthase (GSH2), are down-regulated. Elevating dehydroascorbate (DHA) content in Oncidium by artificial addition of DHA resulted in a decreased AsA and GSH redox ratio, and enhanced dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR) activity. This demonstrated that the lower GSH redox state could be influenced by the lower AsA redox ratio. Moreover, exogenous application of buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), to inhibit GSH biosynthesis, and glutathione disulfide (GSSG), to decrease the GSH redox ratio, also caused early flowering. However, spraying plants with GSH increased the GSH redox ratio and delayed flowering. Furthermore, transgenic Arabidopsis overexpressing Oncidium GSH1, GSH2 and GR1 displayed a high GSH redox ratio as well as delayed flowering under high ambient temperature treatment, while pad2, cad2 and gr1 mutants exhibited early flowering and a low GSH redox ratio. In conclusion, our results provide evidence that the decreased GSH redox state is linked to the decline in the AsA redox ratio and mediated by down-regulated expression of GSH metabolism-related genes to affect flowering time in Oncidium orchid.

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