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A drought-sensitive barley variety displays oxidative stress and strongly increased contents in low-molecular weight antioxidant compounds during water deficit compared to a tolerant variety

Marok, Mohamed Amine, Tarrago, Lionel, Ksas, Brigitte, Henri, Patricia, Abrous-Belbachir, Ouzna, Havaux, Michel, Rey, Pascal
Journal of plant physiology 2013 v.170 no.7 pp. 633-645
alpha-tocopherol, antioxidants, barley, carotenoids, catalase, drought, genetic variation, genotype, glutathione, high performance liquid chromatography, image analysis, landraces, lipid peroxidation, methionine, oxidation, oxidative stress, peroxides, proteins, superoxide dismutase, water stress, wilting
Barley displays a great genetic diversity, constituting a valuable source to delineate the responses of contrasted genotypes to environmental constraints. Here, we investigated the level of oxidative stress and the participation of antioxidant systems in two barley genotypes: Express, a variety known to be sensitive to drought, and Saïda, an Algerian landrace selected for its tolerance to water deficit. Soil-grown 15-day-old plants were subjected to water deficit for 8 days and then rewatered. We observed that upon water stress Express exhibits compared to Saïda accelerated wilting and a higher level of oxidative stress evaluated by HPLC measurements of lipid peroxidation and by imaging techniques. In parallel, Express plants also display lower levels of catalase and superoxide dismutase activity. No great difference was observed regarding peroxiredoxins and methionine sulfoxide reductases, enzymes detoxifying peroxides and repairing oxidized proteins, respectively. In contrast, upon water stress and recovery, much higher contents and oxidation ratios of glutathione and ascorbate were measured in Express compared to Saïda. Express also shows during water deficit greater increases in the pools of lipophilic antioxidants like xantophyll carotenoids and α-tocopherol. Altogether, these data show that the differential behavior of the two genotypes involves distinct responses regarding antioxidant mechanisms. Indeed, the drought sensitivity of Express compared with Saïda is associated with oxidative damage and a lower enzymatic ROS-scavenging capacity, but in parallel with a much stronger enhancement of most mechanisms involving low-molecular weight antioxidant compounds.