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Plant Physiol. 1998 May;117(1):283-92.

Drought-induced effects on nitrate reductase activity and mRNA and on the coordination of nitrogen and carbon metabolism in maize leaves

Abstract

Maize (Zea mays L.) plants were grown to the nine-leaf stage. Despite a saturating N supply, the youngest mature leaves (seventh position on the stem) contained little NO3- reserve. Droughted plants (deprived of nutrient solution) showed changes in foliar enzyme activities, mRNA accumulation, photosynthesis, and carbohydrate and amino acid contents. Total leaf water potential and CO2 assimilation rates, measured 3 h into the photoperiod, decreased 3 d after the onset of drought. Starch, glucose, fructose, and amino acids, but not sucrose (Suc), accumulated in the leaves of droughted plants. Maximal extractable phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase activities increased slightly during water deficit, whereas the sensitivity of this enzyme to the inhibitor malate decreased. Maximal extractable Suc phosphate synthase activities decreased as a result of water stress, and there was an increase in the sensitivity to the inhibitor orthophosphate. A correlation between maximal extractable foliar nitrate reductase (NR) activity and the rate of CO2 assimilation was observed. The NR activation state and maximal extractable NR activity declined rapidly in response to drought. Photosynthesis and NR activity recovered rapidly when nutrient solution was restored at this point. The decrease in maximal extractable NR activity was accompanied by a decrease in NR transcripts, whereas Suc phosphate synthase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase mRNAs were much less affected. The coordination of N and C metabolism is retained during drought conditions via modulation of the activities of Suc phosphate synthase and NR commensurate with the prevailing rate of photosynthesis.

PMID:
9576798
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
PMCID:
PMC35013
Free PMC Article
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