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Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Mar 1;14(3):5146-69. doi: 10.3390/ijms14035146.

Secretory Phospholipases A2 in Durum Wheat (Triticum durum Desf.): Gene Expression, Enzymatic Activity, and Relation to Drought Stress Adaptation.

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  • 1Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura, Cereal Research Centre, S.S. 16, Km 675, 71122 Foggia, Italy.


Phospholipases A2 (PLA2s) are known to mediate signaling cascades during plant growth and development, as well as biotic and abiotic stress responses. In this context, the present study provides extensive characterization of specific PLA2s in durum wheat, and assesses their involvement in durum wheat response to drought stress. In durum wheat leaves, four full-length expressed sequences encoding putative PLA2s were isolated and characterized as belonging to the class of secretory PLA2s (sPLA2s): TdsPLA2I, TdsPLA2II, TdsPLA2III and TdsPLA2IV. PLA2 activity was also detected, the characteristics of which resemble those of previously characterized plant sPLA2s: strong preference for phospholipids; requirement for millimolar Ca2+ concentrations; optimal activity at basic pH; heat stability; and inhibition by the reducing agent dithiothreitol. With drought stress imposed at both the vegetative and reproductive stages, accumulation of TdsPLA2I and TdsPLA2III transcripts, and to a lesser extent of TdsPLA2IV transcript, paralleled increased PLA2 activity; both transcript levels and enzymatic activity decreased as a consequence of stress recovery. Consistently, free fatty acid analysis of drought-stressed leaves revealed increased linoleate, linolenate and palmitate contents, which were reversed by plant re-watering. Overall, these findings strongly suggest that there are inducible sPLA2 isoforms in durum wheat that have roles in orchestrating the plant response to drought stress.

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