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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2011 Apr;49(4):363-7. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2011.02.007. Epub 2011 Feb 12.

Responses to desiccation injury in developing wheat embryos from naturally- and artificially-dried grains.

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Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy.


Grains of wheat (Triticum durum Desf. cv. Cappelli) were collected at different stages of maturation. To test whether the response to desiccation injury is correlated with physiological stage and/or water content, one lot of grains at each stage was artificially dried until its water content was comparable to that of the subsequent stage. Several stress parameters were analysed in embryos isolated from naturally-and artificially-dried grains. In particular, the content of dehydrins, hydrogen peroxide and the activity of ribonucleases and of antioxidant enzyme were studied. Neutral ribonucleases, unlike acidic ones, seemed to be correlated with grain water content. In parallel with these analyses the presence of dehydrins was also examined. Dehydrin accumulation was found to vary with drying rate, and more isoforms of dehydrin were present in artificially dried than in naturally-dried grains. Artificial drying resulted in accumulation of hydrogen peroxide, while the content of this molecule was much lower in embryos from naturally fully-ripened grains. While the activities of ascorbate peroxidase (APX, EC, dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR, EC, glutathione reductase (GR, EC, and glutathione peroxidase (GPX, EC, were generally higher early in maturation, the activity of catalase (CAT, EC increased in mid-maturation and decreased in fully-ripe embryos. Different protective mechanisms seem to act in combination but their relative importance changes as maturation progresses and in response to the drying method.

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