Indexed on: 10 May '11Published on: 10 May '11Published in: Plant & cell physiology
The effect of a hypoxic pre-treatment (HPT) on improving tolerance to prolonged anoxia conditions in two contrasting Vitis species (V. riparia, anoxia tolerant; V. rupestris, anoxia sensitive) was evaluated. The energy economy of root cells was studied by measuring heat production, the activity of pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) and alcohol dehdrogenase (ADH), ethanol and ATP production, and K(+) fluxes. The results showed that HPT is an effective tool in order to maintain a sustainable metabolic performance in both the species under anoxia conditions, especially in sensitive species such as V. rupestris. Our results showed that the improved tolerance was mainly driven by: (i) an enhanced activity of key enzymes in alcohol fermentation (ADC and PDC); (ii) the capability to maintain a higher level of respiration, evidenced by a lesser decrease in heat development and ATP production; and (iii) the maintenance of a better ion homeostasis (highlighted by measurement of K(+) fluxes) and K(+) channel functionality.