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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2013 Apr;65:48-54. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2012.12.016. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

A succinate dehydrogenase flavoprotein subunit-like transcript is upregulated in Ilex paraguariensis leaves in response to water deficit and abscisic acid.

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Instituto de Bot√°nica del Nordeste (IBONE-CONICET), Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional del Nordeste, Sargento Cabral 2131, CC: 209, W3402BKG, Corrientes, Argentina.


Ilex paraguariensis plants were subjected to progressive soil water deficit, and differential display (DD) was used to analyse gene expression in leaves to characterise physiological responses to mild and severe water deficits. A cDNA fragment showing strong homology with the flavoprotein subunit (SDH1) of succinate:ubiquinone oxidoreductase (succinate dehydrogenase, SDH, EC was upregulated in plants exposed to drought. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that the SDH1-like transcript level began to increase when the leaf relative water content (RWC) decreased to 78% and peaked when the RWC dropped to 57%. A correlation between abscisic acid (ABA) concentration and variations in transcript levels was assessed by GC-SIM. After rehydration, SDH1 mRNA and ABA returned to their initial levels. In stressed leaves sprayed with ABA SDH1 mRNA accumulated in greater levels compared to stressed leaves that did not receive ABA. Moreover, the enzymatic activity of succinate dehydrogenase increased 1.5-fold in the mature leaves of ABA-treated plants. This physiological response may be related to the tendency of this species to minimise water losses through stomatal closure in the early stages of dehydration to avoid tissue desiccation. As the leaf water potential diminished due to an increase in water restriction, I. paraguariensis leaf tissues reacted by making osmotic adjustments to sustain tissue metabolic activity, which enables the recovery of photosynthesis upon re-watering. These results provide new insights concerning the linkage between plant respiration and photosynthetic metabolism that could be potentially further used in breeding programs aiming water tolerant genotypes.

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