Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 82, Issue 6, pp 563–574 | Cite as

From models to ornamentals: how is flower senescence regulated?

  • Hilary J. Rogers


Floral senescence involves an ordered set of events coordinated at the plant, flower, organ and cellular level. This review assesses our current understanding of the input signals, signal transduction and cellular processes that regulate petal senescence and cell death. In many species a visible sign of petal senescence is wilting. This is accompanied by remobilization of nutrients from the flower to the developing ovary or to other parts of the plant. In other species, petals abscise while still turgid. Coordinating signals for floral senescence also vary across species. In some species ethylene acts as a central regulator, in others floral senescence is ethylene insensitive and other growth regulators are implicated. Due to the variability in this coordination and sequence of events across species, identifying suitable models to study petal senescence has been challenging, and the best candidates are reviewed. Transcriptomic studies provide an overview of the MAP kinases and transcription factors that are activated during petal senescence in several species including Arabidopsis. Our understanding of downstream regulators such as autophagy genes and proteases is also improving. This gives us insights into possible signalling cascades that regulate initiation of senescence and coordination of cell death processes. It also identifies the gaps in our knowledge such as the role of microRNAs. Finally future prospects for using all this information from model to non-model species to extend vase life in ornamental species is reviewed.


Arabidopsis Autophagy Ethylene Petal senescence Proteases Transcription factors 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of BiosciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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