Change in desiccation tolerance of maize embryos during development and germination at different water potential PEG-6000 in relation to oxidative process. Plant Physiol Biochem. 2013, 68:61-70
Change in desiccation tolerance of maize embryos during development and germination at different water potential PEG-6000 in relation to oxidative process
Hui Huang, Songquan Song
Desiccation tolerance is one of the most important traits determining seed survival during storage and under stress conditions. However, the mechanism of seed desiccation tolerance is still unclear in detail. In the present study, we used a combined model system, desiccation-tolerant and -sensitive maize embryos with identical genetic background, to investigate the changes in desiccation tolerance, malonyldialdehyde (MDA) level, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content and antioxidant enzyme activity during seed development and germination in 0, 0.6 and 1.2 MPa polyethylene glycol (PEG)-6000 solutions. Our results indicated that maize embryos gradually acquired and lost desiccation tolerance during development and germination, respectively. The acquirement and loss of desiccation tolerance of embryos during development and germination were related to the ability of antioxidant enzymes including superoxide dismutase (SOD, EC 126.96.36.199), ascorbate peroxidase (APX, EC 188.8.131.52), catalase (CAT, EC 184.108.40.206), glutathione reductase (GR, EC 220.127.116.11) and dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR, EC 18.104.22.168) to scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) and to control MDA content. Compared with treatment in water, PEG-6000 treatment could markedly delay the loss of desiccation tolerance of germinating embryos by delaying water uptake and time course of germination, increasing GR activity and decreasing MDA content. Our data showed the combination of antioxidant enzyme activity and MDA content is a good parameter for assessing the desiccation tolerance of maize embryos. In addition, H2O2 accumulated in mature embryos and PEG-treated embryos after drying, which was at least partially related to a longer embryo/seedling length in rehydration and the physiological mechanisms of priming.