Salicylic Acid-Induced Photosynthetic Adaptability of Zea Mays L. to Polyethylene Glycol-Simulated Water Deficit Is Associated with Nitric Oxide Signaling

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Salicylic acid (SA) and nitric oxide (NO) form a new group of plant growth substances that cooperatively interact to promote plant growth and productivity. Water deficit (WD) stress is a major limiting factor for photosynthesis, which in turn limits crop yield. However, the mechanism of SA and NO in stimulating photosynthesis has not yet been elucidated. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the SA- and NO-mediated photosynthetic adaptability of maize seedlings to WD in terms of photosynthetic parameters, activities and mRNA levels of CO2 assimilation enzymes. Our results showed that SA alleviated the WD-induced reduction of photosynthetic performance. The activities of Rubisco and Rubisco activase enzymes increased significantly due to SA pretreatment. Moreover, higher transcription rates of Rbc L, ZmRCAα and ZmRCAβ mRNA further confirmed the effects of SA on CO2 assimilation. WD or SA-induced decreases or increases of CO2 assimilation ability were further decreased after c-PTIO addition.



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