Remobilization and fate of sulphur in mustard

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Borpatragohain, P, Roe, TJ, Lui, L, Barkla, BJ, Raymond, CA & King, GJ 2019, 'Remobilization and fate of sulphur in mustard', Annals of Botany, vol. 124, pp. 471-480.

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Background and Aims

Sulphur (S) is an essential macronutrient involved in numerous metabolic pathways required for plant growth. Crops of the plant family Brassicaceae require more S compared with other crops for optimum growth and yield, with most S ultimately sequestered in the mature seeds as the storage proteins cruciferin and napin, along with the unique S-rich secondary metabolite glucosinolate (GSL). It is well established that S assimilation primarily takes place in the shoots rather than roots, and that sulphate is the major form in which S is transported and stored in plants. We carried out a developmental S audit to establish the net fluxes of S in two lines of Brassica juncea mustard where seed GSL content differed but resulted in no yield penalty. Methods

We quantified S pools (sulphate, GSL and total S) in different organs at multiple growth stages until maturity, which also allowed us to test the hypothesis that leaf S, accumulated as a primary S sink, becomes remobilized as a secondary source to meet the requirements of GSL as the dominant seed S sink. Key Results

Maximum plant sulphate accumulation had occurred by floral initiation in both lines, at which time most of the sulphate was found in the leaves, confirming its role as the primary S sink. Up to 52 % of total sulphate accumulated by the low-GSL plants was lost through senesced leaves. In contrast, S from senescing leaves of the high-GSL line was remobilized to other tissues, with GSL accumulating in the seed from commencement of silique filling until maturity. Conclusion

We have established that leaf S compounds that accumulated as primary S sinks at early developmental stages in condiment type B. juncea become remobilized as a secondary S source to meet the demand for GSL as the dominant seed S sink at maturity.

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