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Open AccessArticle

Stress Sensitivity Is Associated with Differential Accumulation of Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species in Maize Genotypes with Contrasting Levels of Drought Tolerance

1
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Crop Protection and Management Research Unit, Tifton, GA 31793, USA
2
Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA 31793, USA
3
School of Life Sciences, Huaiyin Normal University, Huaian 223300, China
4
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit, Tifton, GA 31793, USA
5
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA 31793, USA
6
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, Fort Pierce, FL 34945, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Marcello Iriti and Jianhua Zhu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16(10), 24791-24819; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms161024791
Received: 12 July 2015 / Revised: 28 September 2015 / Accepted: 12 October 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research in Plant Secondary Metabolism 2015)
Drought stress decreases crop growth, yield, and can further exacerbate pre-harvest aflatoxin contamination. Tolerance and adaptation to drought stress is an important trait of agricultural crops like maize. However, maize genotypes with contrasting drought tolerances have been shown to possess both common and genotype-specific adaptations to cope with drought stress. In this research, the physiological and metabolic response patterns in the leaves of maize seedlings subjected to drought stress were investigated using six maize genotypes including: A638, B73, Grace-E5, Lo964, Lo1016, and Va35. During drought treatments, drought-sensitive maize seedlings displayed more severe symptoms such as chlorosis and wilting, exhibited significant decreases in photosynthetic parameters, and accumulated significantly more reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) than tolerant genotypes. Sensitive genotypes also showed rapid increases in enzyme activities involved in ROS and RNS metabolism. However, the measured antioxidant enzyme activities were higher in the tolerant genotypes than in the sensitive genotypes in which increased rapidly following drought stress. The results suggest that drought stress causes differential responses to oxidative and nitrosative stress in maize genotypes with tolerant genotypes with slower reaction and less ROS and RNS production than sensitive ones. These differential patterns may be utilized as potential biological markers for use in marker assisted breeding. View Full-Text
Keywords: maize seedlings; drought stress; reactive oxygen species; reactive nitrogen species maize seedlings; drought stress; reactive oxygen species; reactive nitrogen species
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yang, L.; Fountain, J.C.; Wang, H.; Ni, X.; Ji, P.; Lee, R.D.; Kemerait, R.C.; Scully, B.T.; Guo, B. Stress Sensitivity Is Associated with Differential Accumulation of Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species in Maize Genotypes with Contrasting Levels of Drought Tolerance. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2015, 16, 24791-24819.

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