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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Resorption protection. Anthocyanins facilitate nutrient recovery in autumn by shielding leaves from potentially damaging light levels.

The resorption protection hypothesis, which states that anthocyanins protect foliar nutrient resorption during senescence by shielding photosynthetic tissues from excess light, was tested using wild-type (WT) and anthocyanin-deficient mutants of three deciduous woody species, Cornus sericea, Vaccinium elliottii (Chapmn.), and Viburnum sargentii (Koehne). WT Betula papyrifera (Marsh) was included to compare the senescence performance of a species that does not produce anthocyanins in autumn. Plants were subjected to three environmental regimes during senescence: an outdoor treatment; a 5-d high-stress (high light and low temperature) treatment followed by transfer to a low-stress environment and a low-stress treatment that served as control. In the outdoor treatment, the appearance of anthocyanins in senescing leaves of WT plants was concomitant with the development of photo-inhibition in mutant plants of all three anthocyanin-producing species. In the high-stress environment, WT plants maintained higher photochemical efficiencies than mutants and were able to recover when transferred to the low-stress environment, whereas mutant leaves dropped while still green and displayed signs of irreversible photooxidative damage. Nitrogen resorption efficiencies and proficiencies of all mutants in both stressful treatments were significantly lower than the WT counterparts. B. papyrifera displayed photochemical efficiencies and nitrogen resorption performance comparable with the highest of the anthocyanin-producing species in all three senescing environments, indicating a photoprotective strategy divergent from the other species studied. These results strongly support the resorption protection hypothesis of anthocyanins in senescing leaves.[1]


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