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J Exp Bot. 2005 Dec;56(422):3041-9. Epub 2005 Nov 1.

Increased sensitivity to salt stress in an ascorbate-deficient Arabidopsis mutant.

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Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, 730000, China.


The Arabidopsis thaliana ascorbate-deficient vtc-1 mutant has only 30% ascorbate contents of the wild type (WT). This ascorbate-deficient mutant was used here to study the physiological roles of ascorbate under salt stress in vivo. Salt stress resulted in a more significant decrease in CO2 assimilatory capacity in the vtc-1 mutant than in the WT. Photosystem II function in the Arabidopsis vtc-1 mutant also showed an increased sensitivity to salt stress. Oxidative stress, indicated by the hydrogen peroxide content, increased more dramatically in the vtc-1 mutant than in the WT under salt stress. To clarify the reason for the increased oxidative stress in the vtc-1 mutant, the contents of small antioxidant compounds and the activities of several antioxidant enzymes in the ascorbate-glutathione cycle were measured. Despite an elevated glutathione pool in the vtc-1 mutant, the ascorbate contents and the reduced form of ascorbate decreased very rapidly under salt stress. These results showed that the activities of MDAR and DHAR were lower in the vtc-1 mutant than in the WT under salt stress. Thus, low intrinsic ascorbate and an impaired ascorbate-glutathione cycle in the vtc-1 mutant under salt stress probably induced a dramatic decrease in the reduced form of ascorbate, which resulted in both enhanced ROS contents and decreased NPQ in the vtc-1 mutant.

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