Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 87, Issue 2, pp 187–199 | Cite as

Red light promotes cotton embryogenic callus formation by influencing endogenous hormones, polyamines and antioxidative enzyme activities

  • Ya Yu
  • Wenqiang Qin
  • Yi Li
  • Chaojun Zhang
  • Ye Wang
  • Zhaoen Yang
  • Xiaoyang GeEmail author
  • Fuguang LiEmail author
Original paper


Genetic transformation through somatic embryogenesis is a major tool for improving cotton’s (Gossypium hirsutum L.) development and defenses. However, the low efficiency of somatic embryogenesis seriously limits cotton’s biotechnology-based breeding and gene functional analyses. In this study, the effects of different light qualities on callus morphology and embryogenic callus induction in cotton were evaluated. Embryogenic callus formation was affected by different light regimes during the induction and expression phases. Red light treatments during the induction phase significantly promoted the formation of embryogenic calli, reaching 94.0%, and the differentiation period was reduced to 30 days compared with more than 60 days under white light conditions. Calli were of a moderate size and had moderate peroxidase, superoxidase dismutase, and catalase activity levels under red light conditions, which may maintain the balance between callus growth and differentiation. The highest total polyamine, spermidine, and spermine contents, and the lowest putrescine content, were detected during red light treatments. Additionally, endogenous auxin levels were significantly greater in red light-treated calli, and the expression levels of the somatic embryogenesis marker genes AGAMOUS-like 15, LEAFY COTYLEDON1, LEAFY COTYLEDON2, BABY BOOM, and WUSCHEL were up-regulated under red light compared with white light conditions. Thus, red light applied in the induction phase favored embryogenic callus differentiation, possibly through physiological responses to light quality. A high-efficiency cotton somatic embryogenesis protocol using red light applications will help clarify the mechanism of somatic embryogenesis.


Embryogenic callus Endogenous hormone Gossypium hirsutum L. Light quality Polyamines 



Abscisic acid


Blue light




Callus induction medium




Embryogenic callus induction medium


Fresh weight


Indole-3-acetic acid


Light-emitting diode


Murashige and Skoog medium salts supplemented with B5 organic compounds






Photosynthetic photon flux density




Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction


Red light


Reactive oxygen species


Standard deviation


Superoxidase dismutase






White fluorescent lamp





The research is supported by National Key R & D Program of China (2016YFD0100505).

Author contributions

Conceived and designed the experiments: FL and XG. Performed the experiments: YY, WQ, and YL. Analyzed the data: WQ, and CZ. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: YW and ZY. Wrote the paper: YY. Revised the paper: YY, WQ, and YL.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.

Supplementary material

10725_2018_461_MOESM1_ESM.doc (164 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 164 KB)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Cotton Biology, Institute of Cotton ResearchChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesAnyangChina
  2. 2.College of AgronomyXinjiang Agricultural UniversityÜrümqiChina

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