Document Type


Date of Original Version



Biochemistry and Biophysics


Previous work has provided evidence that plants may require boron to maintain adequate levels of pyrimidine nucleotides, suggesting that the state of boron deficiency may actually be one of pyrimidine starvation. Since the availability of pyrimidine nucleotides is influenced by their rates of synthesis, salvage, and catabolism, we compared these activities in the terminal 3 centimeters of roots excised from boron-deficient and -sufficient squash plants (Cucurbita pepo L.). Transferring 5-day-old squash plants to a boron-deficient nutrient solution resulted in cessation of root elongation within 18 hours. However, withholding boron for up to 30 hours did not result in either impaired de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis or a change in the sensitivity of the de novo pathway to regulation by end product inhibition. Boron deprivation had no significant effect on pyrimidine salvage or catabolism. These results provide evidence that boron-deficient plants are not starved for uridine nucleotides collectively. Whether a particular pyrimidine nucleotide or derivative is limiting during boron deprivation remains to be examined.


Carol J. Lovatt was a graduate student in the Department of Botany. Luke S. Albert and George C. Tremblay were faculty in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.