Changes in Starch Synthesis and Metabolism Within Developing Bulbs of Lycoris radiata During the Vegetative Growth Stage


Lycoris is a genus of plants with flowering bulbs that have high ornamental, medicinal, and ecological value. The slow growth of Lycoris bulbs under natural conditions is a constraint to the Lycoris industry. Thus, accelerating the development of Lycoris bulbs is extremely important. Starch provides the energy and material basis for bulbs to enlarge. Previous studies have shown reduced starch metabolism capacity in Lycoris bulbs when dormant, but changes within bulbs during the vegetative growth stage remain poorly understood. In our present study, four groups of developing Lycoris radiata bulbs during the vegetative growth phase and with the same genetic background were created and used to investigate changes in carbohydrate content, starch synthesis, metabolic enzyme activity, and the gene expression patterns of several genes encoding these enzymes. Increases in enzyme activity during starch synthesis, especially for AGPase, were observed and correlated with the expression levels of the AGPase genes. Starch levels initially increased and then declined. This may be due to the increasing activity of amylase, which resulted in a rapid increase in sugar concentration during bulb development. We also detected changes in starch synthesis and metabolism from different layers of the bulbs during development, with increases in starch synthesis and starch degradation activity being more significant in the middle scales. The sugar within the middle scales may be transported to the inner scales, which increases the inner scale sugar content, promotes the expression levels of CycD genes, and accelerates cell division during bulb development.

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This work was supported by the Shanghai Agriculture Applied Technology Development Program, China (GrantNo. G2016060106) and The Youth Talent Development Plan of Shanghai Municipal Agricultural System, China (Grant No. 20180110).

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Correspondence to Yong-chun Zhang.

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Xu, Jx., Li, Qz., Yang, Ly. et al. Changes in Starch Synthesis and Metabolism Within Developing Bulbs of Lycoris radiata During the Vegetative Growth Stage. J Plant Growth Regul 39, 785–794 (2020).

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  • Lycoris radiata bulbs
  • Starch metabolism
  • AGPase
  • D-type cyclins