Acta Physiologiae Plantarum

, 40:206 | Cite as

Effect of exogenous nitric oxide on sulfur and nitrate assimilation pathway enzymes in maize (Zea mays L.) under drought stress

  • Sadia Majeed
  • Fahim NawazEmail author
  • Muhammad Naeem
  • Muhammad Yasin Ashraf
Original Article


The present study aimed at investigating the effects of foliar applied nitric oxide (as SNP [sodium nitroprusside]) on sulfur (glutathione reductase, guaiacol peroxidase, and glutathione S-transferase) and nitrate assimilation (nitrite and nitrate reductase) pathway enzymes in maize (Zea mays L.) exposed to water deficit conditions. The seedlings of a drought tolerant (NK8711) and sensitive (P1574) maize hybrid were applied with various SNP doses (0, 50, 100, 150, and 200 µM) under normal and drought stress conditions. Foliar spray of 100 µM markedly improved water status and chlorophyll contents and alleviated drought-induced oxidative damages through increased antioxidant (catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase) activities in both maize hybrids. Moreover, exogenous SNP supply increased nitrite and nitrate reductase activities and upregulated glutathione reductase, glutathione S-transferase, and guaiacol peroxidase compared to no SNP supply. Interestingly, the negative effects of excess NO generation at high SNP doses (150, 200 µM) were more pronounced in P1574 than NK8711 leading to lower biomass accumulation in drought-sensitive hybrid.


Nitric oxide Sulfur assimilation Nitrate assimilation Antioxidant enzymes Drought stress Maize 



The present work is a part of doctoral research studies of Ms. Sadia Majeed, an HEC (Higher Education Commission of Pakistan) scholar at the Department of Agronomy, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB), Pakistan. The doctoral studies of Ms. Sadia Majeed are financially supported by HEC under Grant no. 213-60216-2AV2-112 awarded to Ms. Sadia Majeed. The authors appreciate and acknowledge the valued assistance offered by Dr, Samina Ijaz, Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, IUB, to successfully complete the designed analytical work. We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to Ms. Saba Tauseef, Ms. Kinza Mehmood and Ms. Iqra Khalid for their technical assistance in analytical work.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 KB)
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Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 18 KB)
11738_2018_2780_MOESM3_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 17 KB)


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AgronomyUCA & ES, The Islamia University of BahawalpurBahawalpurPakistan
  2. 2.Department of AgronomyMNS University of AgricultureMultanPakistan
  3. 3.Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and BiologyFaisalabadPakistan

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