The 7- to 8-day-old barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) seedlings grown in KNO3 solutions (1-40 mM) were characterized by the substrate activation of nitrate reductase (NR) in the apical leaf segments (1–2 cm in length), as well as by stimulated growth, broadened leaf blades, and by vigorously developed system of shortened roots. When the seedlings were grown in the presence of 20 mM KNO3, the ability of leaf segments to generate superoxide anion radical remained at the level typical of control plants grown in water. The content of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) in plants grown in the presence of 20 mM KNO3 was 2.2–2.4 times higher than in control plants. The plants grown in the presence of nitrate had an elevated content of chlorophylls a and b, heme, and protein (by 42%). At the same time, the proline content was almost twofold lower than in control plants, which was due to substantial reduction (by 40%) in activity of Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase (P5CS). It is concluded that the substrate activation of NR by KNO3 under normal growth conditions results in predominant utilization of glutamic acid (the primary product of inorganic nitrogen assimilation) for biosynthesis of tetrapyrroles and protein amino acids at the expense of inhibition of proline synthesis. When barley seedlings were grown in 150 mM NaCl solution, the plant growth and the root system development were suppressed to the levels of 63 ± 6% and 61 ± 11% of the control values, respectively. In the apical leaf tissues of plants adapted to NaCl, there was a slight decrease in the total NR activity (by 10%), a significant reduction in protein content (by 32%), and a parallel increase in the content of ALA (by a factor of 4.3), chlorophylls, heme, carotenoids, proline (2.2-fold) and P5CS (1.6-fold) with respect to the control values. It is proposed that the accumulation of ALA and proline under salinity-induced suppression of nitrogen assimilation results from the predominant allocation of glutamate for biosyntheses of ALA and proline at the expense of inhibition of growth-related processes requiring intense protein synthesis. The substrate activation of NR by KNO3 under salinity conditions was associated with prevailing allocation of the assimilated nitrogen for synthesis of proline and protein amino acids, which reinforced plant cell protection against salinity and stimulated plant growth.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 28, 2013
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