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J Plant Physiol. 2007 Jun;164(6):695-701. Epub 2006 Jun 14.

Glutamine synthetase and glutamate dehydrogenase contribute differentially to proline accumulation in leaves of wheat (Triticum aestivum) seedlings exposed to different salinity.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of MOE for Plant Developmental Biology, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, PR China.


To investigate the roles of ammonium-assimilating enzymes in proline synthesis under salinity stress, the activities of glutamine synthetase (GS; EC and NADH-dependent glutamate dehydrogenase (NADH-GDH; EC were determined in leaves of wheat (Triticum aestivum) seedlings exposed to salt stress at 150 and 300 mM NaCl for 5d. At the lower salinity, only GS activity increased markedly. At 300 mM NaCl, however, NADH-GDH activity increased while GS activity decreased. A significant accumulation of proline was found only at high-salinity exposure while glutamate, a proline precursor, increased dramatically under both low and high salinity. These data suggests that GS-catalysis might be the main glutamate synthesis pathway under low salinity. At 300 mM NaCl, glutamate seems to be preferentially produced through the process catalyzed by NADH-GDH. The increase of ammonium in salinity-stressed wheat seedlings might have resulted from increased photorespiration, which is responsible for the higher NADH-GDH activity. The activity of Delta(1)-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase (P5CR; EC was significantly enhanced at 300 mM NaCl but remained unchanged at 150 mM. Delta(1)-Pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase (P5CS) activity did not show a specific response, indicating that P5CR might be the limiting step in proline synthesis from glutamate at high salinity.

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