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Plant Cell Environ. 2012 Feb;35(2):281-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2011.02310.x. Epub 2011 Apr 7.

Metabolism of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species in pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) plants under low temperature stress.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Biología Celular y Molecular de Plantas, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Apartado 419, E-18080 Granada, Spain.


Low temperature is an environmental stress that affects crop production and quality and regulates the expression of many genes, and the level of a number of proteins and metabolites. Using leaves from pepper (Capsicum annum L.) plants exposed to low temperature (8 °C) for different time periods (1 to 3 d), several key components of the metabolism of reactive nitrogen and oxygen species (RNS and ROS, respectively) were analysed. After 24 h of exposure at 8 °C, pepper plants exhibited visible symptoms characterized by flaccidity of stems and leaves. This was accompanied by significant changes in the metabolism of RNS and ROS with an increase of both protein tyrosine nitration (NO(2) -Tyr) and lipid peroxidation, indicating that low temperature induces nitrosative and oxidative stress. During the second and third days at low temperature, pepper plants underwent cold acclimation by adjusting their antioxidant metabolism and reverting the observed nitrosative and oxidative stress. In this process, the levels of the soluble non-enzymatic antioxidants ascorbate and glutathione, and the activity of the main NADPH-generating dehydrogenases were significantly induced. This suggests that ascorbate, glutathione and the NADPH-generating dehydrogenases have a role in the process of cold acclimation through their effect on the redox state of the cell.

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