Background: Landoltia punctata is a widely distributed duckweed species with great potential to accumulate enormous amounts of starch for bioethanol production. We found that L. punctata can accumulate starch rapidly accompanied by alterations in endogenous hormone levels after uniconazole application, but the relationship between endogenous hormones and starch accumulation is still unclear. Results: After spraying fronds with 800 mg/L uniconazole, L. punctata can accumulate starch quickly, with a dry weight starch content of up to 48% after 240 h of growth compared to 15.7% in the control group. Electron microscopy showed that the starch granule content was elevated after uniconazole application. The activities of key enzymes involved in starch synthesis were also significantly increased. Moreover, the expression of regulatory elements of the cytokinin (CK), abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellin (GA) signaling pathways that are involved in chlorophyll and starch metabolism also changed correspondingly. Importantly, the expression levels of key enzymes involved in starch biosynthesis were up-regulated, while transcript-encoding enzymes involved in starch degradation and other carbohydrate metabolic branches were down-regulated. Conclusion: The increase of endogenous ABA and CK levels positively promoted the activity of ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (AGPase) and chlorophyll content, while the decrease in endogenous GA levels inactivated α-amylase. Thus, the alterations of endogenous hormone levels resulted in starch accumulation due to regulation of the expression of genes involved in the starch metabolism pathway.
Liu, Y., Fang, Y., Huang, M., Jin, Y., Sun, J., Tao, X., … Zhao, H. (2015). Uniconazole-induced starch accumulation in the bioenergy crop duckweed (Landoltia punctata) II: Transcriptome alterations of pathways involved in carbohydrate metabolism and endogenous hormone crosstalk. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13068-015-0245-8