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J Exp Bot. 2007;58(6):1545-55. Epub 2007 Mar 1.

Involvement of polyamines in the drought resistance of rice.

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Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology of Jiangsu Province, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, Jiangsu, China.


This study investigated whether and how polyamines (PAs) in rice (Oryza sativa L.) plants are involved in drought resistance. Six rice cultivars differing in drought resistance were used and subjected to well-watered and water-stressed treatments during their reproductive period. The activities of arginine decarboxylase, S-adenosyl-L-methionine decarboxylase, and spermidine (Spd) synthase in the leaves were significantly enhanced by water stress, in good agreement with the increase in putrescine (Put), Spd, and spermine (Spm) contents there. The increased contents of free Spd, free Spm, and insoluble-conjugated Put under water stress were significantly correlated with the yield maintenance ratio (the ratio of grain yield under water-stressed conditions to grain yield under well-watered conditions) of the cultivars. Free Put at an early stage of water stress positively, whereas at a later stage negatively, correlated with the yield maintenance ratio. No significant differences were observed in soluble-conjugated PAs and insoluble-conjugated Spd and Spm among the cultivars. Free PAs showed significant accumulation when leaf water potentials reached -0.51 MPa to -0.62 MPa for the drought-resistant cultivars and -0.70 MPa to -0.84 MPa for the drought-susceptible ones. The results suggest that rice has a large capacity to enhance PA biosynthesis in leaves in response to water stress. The role of PAs in plant defence to water stress varies with PA forms and stress stages. In adapting to drought it would be good for rice to have the physiological traits of higher levels of free Spd/free Spm and insoluble-conjugated Put, as well as early accumulation of free PAs, under water stress.

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