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J Plant Physiol. 2012 Apr 15;169(6):577-85. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2011.12.015. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

Interaction of proline, sugars, and anthocyanins during photosynthetic acclimation of Arabidopsis thaliana to drought stress.

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Department of Botany, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University Campus, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece.


The relationships among photosynthetic acclimation, proline (Pro), soluble sugar (SS), and anthocyanin (An) accumulation in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves to the onset of drought stress (OnDS), mild (MiDS) and moderate drought stress (MoDS), were evaluated. As leaf water content (LWC) decreased, metabolic concentrations (Pro, SS, and An) increased and were negatively and significantly correlated with LWC. Thus, these metabolites may have an important role in the acclimation process to drought stress (DS). No correlations among Pro, SS and An accumulation with the quantum efficiency of PSII photochemistry (Φ(PSII)) and the excitation pressure (1-q(P)) were observed under DS. This implies that, while metabolites increased in a drought-dependent way, PSII activity did not decrease in the same pattern. Our results indicated that, under MoDS, A. thaliana leaves were able to maintain oxidative compounds such as malondialdeyde, an end product of lipid peroxidation, within the range of control leaves, and to cope with oxidative damage, as was evident by the decreased excitation pressure (1-q(P)) and similar (ns difference) Φ(PSII) to that of control leaves. In addition, a statistically significant increased accumulation of Pro, SS and An was recorded only under MoDS compared to controls. The better PSII functioning of MoDS Arabidopsis leaves may reflect the greater capacity of these leaves to undertake key metabolic adjustments, including increased Pro, SS and An accumulation, to maintain a higher antioxidant protection and a better balance between light capture and energy use.

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