A pulse treatment of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst) embryos with the cytokinin N6-benzyladenine induces the formation of adventitious buds from subepidermal cells in the hypocotyl and cotyledons. In addition the treatment also inhibits elongation growth, a key process during germination. In this report we demonstrate that these effects on development of the plant are associated with a suppression of the accumulation of several major chloroplast proteins during germination. These proteins include the large subunit of ribulose bisphosphate/carboxylase oxygenase, two subunits of the chloroplast ATPase, protochlorophyllide reductase and a 23000-Mr component of photosystem II. For two nuclear-encoded proteins, the small subunit of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase and the light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b-binding protein, a corresponding suppression of the increase in the steady-state amounts of mRNA is recorded. The suppression of chloroplast protein synthesis is consistant with the previously documented delay in greening that results from cytokinin treatment, but the effect is opposite to that found in other plants, where cytokinins promote the synthesis of chloroplast proteins, and stimulate chloroplast biogenesis. We believe that this difference is explained by the cytokinin primarily suppressing organ development, and a strict dependance of chloroplast biogenesis on the developmental state of the organs.
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