Nitric oxide modulates antioxidant defense and the methylglyoxal detoxification system and reduces salinity-induced damage of wheat seedlings

  • Mirza Hasanuzzaman
  • Mohammad Anwar Hossain
  • Masayuki FujitaEmail author
Original Article


The present study investigates the possible regulatory role of exogenous nitric oxide (NO) in antioxidant defense and methylglyoxal (MG) detoxification systems of wheat seedlings exposed to salt stress (150 and 300 mM NaCl, 4 days). Seedlings were pre-treated for 24 h with 1 mM sodium nitroprusside, a NO donor, and then subjected to salt stress. The ascorbate (AsA) content decreased significantly with increased salt stress. The amount of reduced glutathione (GSH) and glutathione disulfide (GSSG) and the GSH/GSSG ratio increased with an increase in the level of salt stress. The glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity increased significantly with severe salt stress (300 mM). The ascorbate peroxidase (APX), monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR), dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activities did not show significant changes in response to salt stress. The glutathione reductase (GR), glyoxalase I (Gly I), and glyoxalase II (Gly II) activities decreased upon the imposition of salt stress, especially at 300 mM NaCl, with a concomitant increase in the H2O2 and lipid peroxidation levels. Exogenous NO pre-treatment of the seedlings had little influence on the non-enzymatic and enzymatic components compared to the seedlings of the untreated control. Further investigation revealed that NO pre-treatment had a synergistic effect; that is, the pre-treatment increased the AsA and GSH content and the GSH/GSSG ratio, as well as the activities of MDHAR, DHAR, GR, GST, GPX, Gly I, and Gly II in most of the seedlings subjected to salt stress. These results suggest that the exogenous application of NO rendered the plants more tolerant to salinity-induced oxidative damage by enhancing their antioxidant defense and MG detoxification systems.


Antioxidant defense Ascorbate–glutathione cycle Glyoxalase system Salt stress Reactive oxygen species Sodium nitroprusside 



Ascorbate oxidase


Ascorbate peroxidase


Ascorbic acid




1-Chloro-2, 4-dinitrobenzene




Dehydroascorbate reductase


5,5′-Dithio-bis (2-nitrobenzoic acid)


Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid

Gly I

Glyoxalase I

Gly II

Glyoxalase II


Glutathione reductase


Reduced glutathione


Oxidized glutathione


Glutathione peroxidase


Glutathione S-transferase






Monodehydroascorbate reductase




Nitric oxide


2-Nitro-5-thiobenzoic acid


Reactive oxygen species




Sodium nitroprusside


Thiobarbituric acid


Trichloroacetic acid


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Copyright information

© Korean Society for Plant Biotechnology and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirza Hasanuzzaman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mohammad Anwar Hossain
    • 1
    • 3
  • Masayuki Fujita
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Stress Responses, Department of Applied Biological Science, Faculty of AgricultureKagawa UniversityKagawaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Agronomy, Faculty of AgricultureSher-e-Bangla Agricultural UniversityDhakaBangladesh
  3. 3.Department of Genetics and Plant BreedingBangladesh Agricultural UniversityMymensinghBangladesh

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