Indexed on: 29 Jun '11Published on: 29 Jun '11Published in: Plant, Cell & Environment
In this work the differential response of adult and young leaves from pea (Pisum sativum L.) plants to the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) (23 mm) applied by foliar spraying was investigated. The concentration of 2,4-D (23 mm) and the time of treatment (72 h) were previously optimized in order to visualize its toxic effects on pea plants. Under these conditions, the herbicide induced severe disturbances in mesophyll cells structure and proliferation of vascular tissue in young leaves and increased acyl-CoA oxidase (ACX), xanthine oxidase (XOD) and lipoxygenase (LOX) activities in young leaves, and only ACX and LOX in adult leaves. This situation produced reactive oxygen species (ROS) over-accumulation favoured by the absence of significant changes in the enzymatic antioxidants, giving rise to oxidative damages to proteins and membrane lipids. An increase of ethylene took place in both young and adult leaves and the induction of genes encoding the stress proteins, PRP4A and HSP 71,2, was observed mainly in young leaves. These results suggest that ROS overproduction is a key factor in the effect of high concentrations of 2,4-D, and ROS can trigger a differential response in young and adult leaves, either epinasty development in young leaves or senescence processes in adult tissues.