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Brazilian Journal of Botany

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 275–285 | Cite as

Exogenous application of 5-aminolevulinic acid on wheat seedlings under drought stress enhances the transcription of psbA and psbD genes and improves photosynthesis

  • Yuexia Wang
  • Shimei Wei
  • Jianan Wang
  • Xiaoyu Su
  • Biao Suo
  • Fujun Qin
  • Huijie Zhao
Original Article
  • 139 Downloads

Abstract

The compound 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is an essential precursor for the biosynthesis of porphyrins, including chlorophyll, heme, and cytochromes. The protective effects of ALA on photosynthesis and the expression of photosynthetic genes in wheat under drought stress are not well understood. Two wheat cultivars, drought-tolerant Aikang-58 and drought-sensitive Chinese Spring, were exposed to drought stress induced by 20% polyethylene glycol (PEG-6000) after foliar pretreatment with ALA for 3 days. The results showed that exogenous application of ALA protected the drought-stressed wheat seedlings by significantly inhibiting the decrease in relative water and chlorophyll contents. The ALA-mediated alleviation of stress was similar between the drought-tolerant and drought-sensitive wheat cultivars. Meanwhile, compared to seedlings under drought treatment alone, the ALA-pre-treated wheat seedlings under drought stress maintained higher photosystem II (PSII) functional indexes. The ALA pretreatment reduced the drought-driven accumulation of both H2O2 and ABA and increased the stomatal conductance. Real-time PCR analysis showed that the psbA and psbD gene transcripts were both upregulated under drought stress following ALA pretreatment. The present study suggests that the exogenous foliar application of ALA alleviates the drought stress on wheat seedlings, which is associated with the enhancement of PSII function by inducing chlorophyll synthesis and psbA and psbD transcription. Moreover, the protective effect of ALA pretreatment was not related to the decline in stomatal conductance caused by ABA or H2O2 accumulation.

Keywords

Crop plant Exogenous regulation Gene expression Photosystem II Water deficit 

Abbreviations

ALA

5-Aminolevulinic acid

ABA

Abscisic acid

ANOVA

One-way analysis of variance

CK

Control

CT

Cycle threshold

ELISA

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay

Fv/Fm

Maximum efficiency of PSII photochemistry

gs

Stomatal conductance

H2O2

Hydrogen peroxide

PEG

Polyethylene glycol

PPFD

Photosynthetic photon flux density

Pn

Net photosynthetic rate

PSII

Photosystem II

ΦPSII

Actual quantum yield

qN

Non-photochemical quenching coefficient

qP

Photochemical quenching coefficient

RWC

Relative water contents

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. U1704103), the Education Department of Henan Province (Grant No. 16A210030), the Sci-tech Innovation Foundation of Henan Agricultural University (Grant No. KJCX2016A06), and the National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Program of Undergraduate Student in Henan University (201710466013).

Authors’ contributions

YW and HZ contributed to the experimental design and writing of this manuscript. YW, SW, XS, and JW contributed on the performance of experiments. BS and FQ contributed to the data analysis.

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Copyright information

© Botanical Society of Sao Paulo 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life SciencesHenan Agricultural UniversityZhengzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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