International journal of molecular sciences

Stress Sensitivity Is Associated with Differential Accumulation of Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species in Maize Genotypes with Contrasting Levels of Drought Tolerance.

PMID 26492235


Drought stress decreases crop growth, yield, and can further exacerbate pre-harvest aflatoxin contamination. Tolerance and adaptation to drought stress is an important trait of agricultural crops like maize. However, maize genotypes with contrasting drought tolerances have been shown to possess both common and genotype-specific adaptations to cope with drought stress. In this research, the physiological and metabolic response patterns in the leaves of maize seedlings subjected to drought stress were investigated using six maize genotypes including: A638, B73, Grace-E5, Lo964, Lo1016, and Va35. During drought treatments, drought-sensitive maize seedlings displayed more severe symptoms such as chlorosis and wilting, exhibited significant decreases in photosynthetic parameters, and accumulated significantly more reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) than tolerant genotypes. Sensitive genotypes also showed rapid increases in enzyme activities involved in ROS and RNS metabolism. However, the measured antioxidant enzyme activities were higher in the tolerant genotypes than in the sensitive genotypes in which increased rapidly following drought stress. The results suggest that drought stress causes differential responses to oxidative and nitrosative stress in maize genotypes with tolerant genotypes with slower reaction and less ROS and RNS production than sensitive ones. These differential patterns may be utilized as potential biological markers for use in marker assisted breeding.

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