Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (12): 1319-1327.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0107

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Growth metabolism of wheat under drought stress at the jointing-booting stage

Rui GUO1,2,*, Ji ZHOU3, Fan YANG4, Feng LI1, Hao-Ru LI1,2, Xu XIA1,2, Qi LIU1,2   

  1. 1Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China

    2Key Laboratory of Dryland Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing 100081, China

    3Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Centre, the Ministry of Land and Resources, Beijing 100034, China
    4Jilin Academy of Forestry Sciences, Changchun 130033, China
  • Online:2016-12-30 Published:2016-12-31
  • Contact: Rui GUO

Abstract: AimsThe aim of this study was to investigate the effects of drought stress on primary, secondary metabolites and metabolic pathways in the leaves of wheat, these parameters were evaluated to determine the physiological adaptive mechanisms by which wheat tolerates drought stress at the jointing-booting stage.MethodsA pot experiment was carried out in rain-proof shelter. The relative growth rate, photosynthetic characteristics and metabolism seedlings exposed to stresses lasting 12 days at jointing-booting stage were measured.Important findings The results displayed that the photosynthesis decreased under drought stress, causing the decreases of relative growth rate and dry matter mass. Profiles of 64 key metabolites produced by wheat including organic acids, amino acids, carbohydrates, purine, etc. were examined, 29 of them were changed significantly under drought stress. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that 64% variations can be explained by the two principal components. One-way ANOVA analysis results revealed that long term drought stress decreased malic acid, citric acid and aconitic acid significantly, indicating inhibited tricarboxylic acid cycle. We further found that prolonged drought stress led to accumulation of progressive amino acids (proline, serine, valine) and carbohydrates (myo-inositol, fructose, clucose) in wheat leaves and depletion of transamination products (asparagine, glutamine, γ-aminobutyric acid). These results imply wheat may enhance its drought tolerance mainly by increasing amino acid biosynthesis and glycolysis under water-deficit conditions. Our findings suggest that drought condition altered metabolic networks including transamination, the tricarboxylic cycle, gluconeogenesis/glycolysis, glutamate-mediated proline biosynthesis, and the metabolisms of choline, pyrimidine and purine. This study provides new insights into the metabolic adaptation of wheat to drought stress and important information for developing drought-tolerant wheat cultivars.

Key words: wheat, jointing-booting stage, drought stress, growth characters, metabolites profiles

Fig. 1

Effects of drought stress on the relative growth rate (RGR) (A) and relative water content (WC) (B) of shoots and roots of wheat at the jointing-booting stage (mean ± SE, n = 5). Different lowercase letters indicate significant difference between treatments (p < 0.05, t-test)."

Table 1

The photosynthetic indices (Pn, Gs), chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm, qP, ETR), chlorophyll and carotenoid contents and Chl a/Chl b of wheat seedling leaves under drought stress at the jointing-booting stage (mean ± SE, n = 5)"

Water treatment
Photosynthetic indices
Chlorophyll fluorescence
Chlorophyll content
(g·kg-1 fresh mass)
Chl a/Chl b
对照 Control 14.98 ± 0.63a 0.29 ± 0.01a 0.73 ± 0.02a 0.22 ± 0.05a 28.28 ± 3.36a 4.29 ± 0.88a 2.16 ± 0.23a
Drought stress
3.15 ± 0.37b 0.04 ± 0.00b 0.31 ± 0.03b 0.09 ± 0.00b 12.49 ± 1.33b 2.01 ± 0.63b 1.31 ± 0.14b

Table 2

Relative concentration and the change of major metabolites in leaves of wheat seedlings under drought stress (DS) treatment at the jointing-booting stage"

相对含量 Relative concentration 变化率 Rate of change
Log2 (DS/CK)
对照组 Control (CK) 干旱胁迫组 DS
The tricarboxylic acid cycle
草酸 Oxalic acid 1.85 1.03 -0.84
柠檬酸 Citric acid 6.39 2.24 -1.51*
乌头酸 Aconitic acid 3.37 1.65 -1.03*
异柠檬酸 Isocitric acid 1.01 0.64 -0.66
Α-酮戊二酸 α-Ketoglutaric acid 0.31 0.12 -1.37*
琥珀酸 Succinic acid 1.46 0.99 -0.56
延胡索酸 Fumaric acid 0.59 0.27 -1.13*
苹果酸 Malic acid 44.28 15.78 -1.49*
糖酵解 Glycolysis 丙酮酸 Pyruvate 0.36 0.42 0.21
磷酸烯醇式丙酮酸 Phosphoenolpyruvate 0.00 0.00 1.52*
葡萄糖-6-磷酸 Fructose-6-phosphate 0.00 0.01 1.05*
果糖-6-磷酸 Glucose-6-phosphate 0.05 0.11 1.09*
葡萄糖 Glucose 0.02 0.05 1.41*
氨基酸类 Amino acids 脯氨酸 Proline 1.76 58.64 5.06*
丙氨酸 Alanine 3.13 2.93 -0.10
苯丙氨酸 Phenylalanine 0.88 1.14 0.38
天冬氨酸 Aspartic acid 14.38 6.41 -1.17*
天冬酰胺 Asparagine 0.11 0.39 1.83*
甘氨酸 Glycine 0.26 0.53 1.03*
丝氨酸 Serine 5.90 11.90 1.01*
苏氨酸 Threonine 0.01 0.01 0.59
谷氨酸 Glutamate 0.47 1.41 1.60*
谷氨酰胺 Glutamine 1.41 0.37 -1.93*
缬氨酸 Valine 3.62 12.09 1.74*
半胱氨酸 Cysteine 0.03 0.05 0.72
异亮氨酸 Isoleucine 1.61 7.09 2.14*
亮氨酸 Leucine 0.36 1.52 2.06*
赖氨酸 Lysine 0.46 0.48 0.07
甲硫氨酸 Methionine 0.50 0.38 -0.40
色氨酸 Tryptophan 0.05 0.05 0.05
酪氨酸 Tyrosine 0.01 0.01 -0.12
鸟氨酸 Ornithine 0.22 0.19 -0.18
瓜氨酸 Citrulline 0.06 0.10 0.85
Sugars and polyols
蔗糖 Sucrose 12.77 6.37 -1.00*
果糖 Fructose 1.09 2.21 1.03*
半乳糖 Galactose 0.19 0.29 0.63
木糖 Xylose 0.06 0.09 0.62
海藻糖 Trehalose 0.02 0.04 0.97*
肌醇 Myo-inositol 15.06 30.85 1.03*
甘露糖 Mannose 21.27 20.53 -0.05
纤维二糖 Cellobiose 0.04 0.03 -0.48
阿卓糖 Altrose 1.03 1.34 0.39
葡庚糖 Glucoheptose 0.38 0.48 0.35
夫糖 Fucose 0.08 0.09 0.13
表2 (续) Table 2 (continued)
相对含量 Relative concentration 变化率 Rate of change
Log2 (DS/CK)
对照组 Control (CK) 干旱胁迫组 DS
Sugars and polyols
半乳糖苷 Galactinol 1.57 1.34 -0.23
龙胆二糖 Gentiobiose 0.09 0.20 1.14*
乳糖 Lactose 0.07 0.05 -0.68
苏糖 Threose 0.03 0.03 0.15
来苏糖 Lyxose 20.14 27.01 0.42
景天庚糖 Sedoheptulose 0.02 0.04 1.04*
塔格糖 Tagatose 1.74 2.73 0.65
Nucleotides derivatives
尿嘧啶 Uridine 0.03 0.03 -0.06
胸腺嘧啶 Thymidine 1.82 0.68 -1.42*
鸟嘌呤 Guanosine 0.27 0.17 -0.65
次黄嘌呤 Hypoxanthine 0.25 0.11 -1.14*
Organic acids and others
γ-氨基丁酸 γ-aminobutyric acid 28.23 15.43 -0.87*
莽草酸 Shikimic acid 11.89 12.61 0.08
奎尼酸 Quinic acid 2.77 2.70 -0.04
乙醇酸 Glyceric acid 1.34 1.42 0.09
乙醇胺 Ethanolamine 0.81 0.36 -1.16*
肉桂酸 Cinnamic acid 0.03 0.04 0.25
绿原酸 Chlorogenic acid 0.28 0.18 -0.66
阿魏酸 Ferulic acid 0.06 0.06 0.12
琥珀酸半醛 Succinate semialdehyde 0.04 0.06 0.63

Fig. 2

Proposed changes of metabolic network of wheat leaves under drought stress. Red boxes denote significant increases while green ones denote significant decreases (p < 0.05)."

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