The phytotoxic effect of allelochemicals is referred to as allelochemical stress and it is considered a biotic stress. Sicyos deppei G. Don (Cucurbitaceae) is an allelopathic weed that causes phytotoxicity in Lycopersicon esculentum, delaying seed germination and severely inhibiting radicle growth. This paper reports in in vitro conditions, the effects of the aqueous leachate of S. deppei—throughout tomato germination times—on (1) the dynamics of starch and sugars metabolism, (2) activity and expression of the cell wall enzymes involved in endosperm weakening that allows the protrusion of the radicle, and (3) whether abscisic acid (ABA) is involved in this altered metabolic processes. Results showed that S. deppei leachate on tomato seed germination mainly caused: (1) delay in starch degradation as well as in sucrose hydrolysis; (2) lower activity of sucrose phosphate synthase, cell wall invertase, and α-amylase; being sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) gene expression down-regulated, and the last two up regulated; (3) also, lower activity of endo -mannanase, -1,3 glucanase, α-galactosidase, and exo-polygalacturonase with altered gene expression; and (4) higher content of ABA during all times of germination. The phytotoxic effect of S. deppei aqueous leachate is because of the sum of many metabolic processes affected during tomato seed germination that finally is evidenced by a strong inhibition of radicle growth.
Laboratorio de Alelopatía. Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Apartado Postal 70-275, México D.F., 04510, Mexico. 2:
Departamento de Bioquímica, Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), México D.F. 04510, Mexico