The Arabidopsis thaliana natriuretic peptide AtPNP-A is a systemic regulator of leaf dark respiration and signals via the phloem
Plant natriuretic peptides (PNPs) belong to a novel class of peptidic signaling molecules that share some structural similarity to the N-terminal domain of expansins and affect physiological processes such as water and ion homeostasis at nano-molar concentrations. Here we show that a recombinant Arabidopsis thaliana PNP (AtPNP-A) rapidly increased the rate of dark respiration in treated leaves after 5 min. In addition, we observed increases in lower leaves, and with a lag time of 10 min, the effect spread to the upper leaves and subsequently (after 15 min) to the opposite leaves. This response signature is indicative of phloem mobility of the signal, a hypothesis that was further strengthened by the fact that cold girdling, which affects phloem but not xylem or apoplastic processes, delayed the long distance AtPNP-A effect. We conclude that locally applied AtPNP-A can induce a phloem-mobile signal that rapidly modifies plant homeostasis in distal parts. © 2011 Elsevier GmbH.