Image_4_Nectar Sugar Modulation and Cell Wall Invertases in the Nectaries of Day- and Night- Flowering Nicotiana.PDF
Nectar composition varies between species, depending on flowering time and pollinator type, among others. Various models of the biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying nectar production and secretion have been proposed. To gain insights into these mechanisms, day- and night-flowering tobacco (Nicotiana) species with high or low proportions of hexoses in the nectar were analyzed. Nectar and nectaries were simultaneously collected, throughout the day and night. Soluble sugars and starch were determined and the activity and expression level of cell wall invertase (CW-INVs) were measured in nectaries. Nectaries and nectar of the five Nicotiana species contained different amounts of sucrose, glucose, and fructose. CW-INV activity was detected in the nectaries of all Nicotiana species and is probably involved in the hydrolysis of sucrose in the nectary tissue and during nectar secretion. The larger differences in the sucrose-to-hexose-ratio between nectaries and nectar in diurnal species compared to nocturnal species can be explained by higher sucrose cleavage within the nectaries in night-flowering species, and during secretion in day-flowering species. However, cell wall invertase alone cannot be responsible for the differences in sugar concentrations. Within the nectaries of the Nicotiana species, a portion of the sugars is transiently stored as starch. In general, night-flowering species showed higher starch contents in the nectaries compared to day-flowering species. Moreover, in night flowering species, the starch content decreased during the first half of the dark period, when nectar production peaks. The sucrose concentrations in the cytoplasm of nectarial cells were extrapolated from nectary sucrose contents. In day-flowering species, the sucrose concentration in the nectary cytoplasm was about twice as high as in nectar, whereas in night-flowering species the situation was the opposite, which implies different secretion mechanisms. The secreted nectar sugars remained stable for the complete flower opening period, which indicates that post-secretory modification is unlikely. On the basis of these results, we present an adapted model of the mechanisms underlying the secretion of nectar sugars in day- and night-flowering Nicotiana.