Main content area

Exogenous 2-(3,4-Dichlorophenoxy) triethylamine ameliorates the soil drought effect on nitrogen metabolism in maize during the pre-female inflorescence emergence stage

Xie, Tenglong, Gu, Wanrong, Wang, Mingquan, Zhang, Liguo, Li, Congfeng, Li, Caifeng, Li, Wenhua, Li, Lijie, Wei, Shi
BMC plant biology 2019 v.19 no.1 pp. 107
Zea mays, alanine transaminase, ammonium, aspartate transaminase, carbon dioxide, chloroplasts, corn, crop yield, drought, drought injury, drought tolerance, enzyme activity, foliar application, free amino acids, glutamate dehydrogenase, isocitrate dehydrogenase, leaves, nitrate reductase, nitrates, nitrite reductase, nitrites, nitrogen metabolism, photosynthesis, plant development, protein content, root hydraulic conductivity, roots, sap, shoots, soil, stomatal conductance, triethylamine, water content
BACKGROUND: Nitrogen (N) metabolism plays an important role in plant drought tolerance. 2-(3,4-Dichlorophenoxy) triethylamine (DCPTA) regulates many aspects of plant development; however, the effects of DCPTA on soil drought tolerance are poorly understood, and the possible role of DCPTA on nitrogen metabolism has not yet been explored. RESULTS: In the present study, the effects of DCPTA on N metabolism in maize (Zea mays L.) under soil drought and rewatering conditions during the pre-female inflorescence emergence stage were investigated in 2016 and 2017. The results demonstrated that the foliar application of DCPTA (25 mg/L) significantly alleviated drought-induced decreases in maize yield, shoot and root relative growth rate (RGR), leaf relative water content (RWC), net photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (Gs) and transpiration rate (Tr), and nitrate (NO₃⁻), nitrite (NO₂⁻), soluble protein contents, and nitrate reductase (NR), nitrite reductase (NiR), isocitrate dehydrogenase (ICDH), alanine aminotransferase (AlaAT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AspAT) activities. In addition, the foliar application of DCPTA suppressed the increases of intercellular CO₂ concentration (Ci), ammonium (NH₄⁺) and free amino acid contents, and the glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) and protease activities of the maize. Simultaneously, under drought conditions, the DCPTA application improved the spatial and temporal distribution of roots, increased the root hydraulic conductivity (Lp), flow rate of root-bleeding sap and NO₃⁻ delivery rates of the maize. Moreover, the DCPTA application protected the chloroplast structure from drought injury. CONCLUSIONS: The data show, exogenous DCPTA mitigates the repressive effects of drought on N metabolism by maintained a stabilized supply of 2-oxoglutarate (2-OG) and reducing equivalents provided by photosynthesis via favorable leaf water status and chloroplast structure, and NO₃⁻ uptake and long-distance transportation from the roots to the leaves via the production of excess roots, as a result, DCPTA application enhances drought tolerance during the pre-female inflorescence emergence stage of maize.