, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 1370–1377 | Cite as

Salicylic acid-induced photosynthetic adaptability of Zea mays L. to polyethylene glycol-simulated water deficit is associated with nitric oxide signaling

  • R. X. Shao
  • L. F. Xin
  • J. M. Guo
  • H. F. Zheng
  • J. Mao
  • X.P. Han
  • L. Jia
  • S. J. Jia
  • C. G. Du
  • R. Song
  • Q. H. Yang
  • R. W. Elmore
Original paper


Salicylic acid (SA) and nitric oxide (NO) form a new group of plant growth substances that cooperatively interact to promote plant growth and productivity. Water deficit (WD) stress is a major limiting factor for photosynthesis, which in turn limits crop yield. However, the mechanism of SA and NO in stimulating photosynthesis has not yet been elucidated. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the SA- and NO-mediated photosynthetic adaptability of maize seedlings to WD in terms of photosynthetic parameters, activities and mRNA levels of CO2 assimilation enzymes. Our results showed that SA alleviated the WD-induced reduction of photosynthetic performance. The activities of Rubisco and Rubisco activase enzymes increased significantly due to SA pretreatment. Moreover, higher transcription rates of Rbc L, ZmRCAα and ZmRCAβ mRNA further confirmed the effects of SA on CO2 assimilation. WD or SA-induced decreases or increases of CO2 assimilation ability were further decreased after c-PTIO addition.

Additional key words

chlorophyll fluorescence transients gene expression nitric oxide scavenger photosynthetic characteristics 



cyclic guanosine monophosphate






intercellular CO2 concentration


maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII


stomatal conductance


leaf area


mitogen-activated kinases


nitric oxide


polyethylene glycol


photosynthesis performance in PSII electron transport


photosynthetic assimilation rate


Rubisco activase


per active reaction centers


relative water content


salicylic acid


water deficit


intrinsic water-use efficiency


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Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. X. Shao
    • 1
  • L. F. Xin
    • 1
  • J. M. Guo
    • 1
  • H. F. Zheng
    • 1
  • J. Mao
    • 1
  • X.P. Han
    • 1
  • L. Jia
    • 1
  • S. J. Jia
    • 1
  • C. G. Du
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Song
    • 1
  • Q. H. Yang
    • 1
  • R. W. Elmore
    • 3
  1. 1.Collaborative Innovation Center of Henan Grain Crops and State Key Laboratory of Wheat and Maize Crop Science/College of AgronomyHenan Agricultural UniversityZhengzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of BiologyMontclair State UniversityMontclairUSA
  3. 3.Department of Agronomy and HorticultureUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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