Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Alternative electron sinks are crucial for conferring photoprotection in field-grown cotton under water deficit during flowering and boll setting stages

Xiao-Ping Yi A B , Ya-Li Zhang A B , He-Sheng Yao A , Xiang-Juan Zhang A , Hong-Hai Luo A , Ling Gou A and Wang-Feng Zhang A C

A The Key Laboratory of Oasis Eco-agriculture, Xinjiang Production and Construction Group, Shihezi University, Shihezi, 832003, PR China.

B These authors contributed equally to this work.

C Corresponding author. Emails: zhwf_agr@shzu.edu.cn; zwf_shzu@163.com

Functional Plant Biology 41(7) 737-747 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP13269
Submitted: 7 September 2013  Accepted: 22 January 2014   Published: 18 March 2014

Abstract

To clarify the photoprotective mechanisms of cotton leaves under water deficit in the field, leaf gas exchange, chlorophyll a fluorescence as well as the corresponding physiological responses were examined in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) to evaluate electron flux distribution. With increasing water deficit, net photosynthetic rate (Pn) significantly decreased, the total electron flux through PSII [Je(PSII)] gradually decreased and the fraction of electron flux required to sustain CO2 assimilation [Je(PCR)] markedly declined. Simultaneously, the ratio of quantum efficiency of PSII [Φ(PSII)] to the quantum efficiency of CO2 fixation [Φ(CO2)] increased, accompanied by an increase in the alternative electron flux (Ja). The enhanced alternative electron flux of O2-dependent Ja(O2-dependent) indicated that electrons had been transported to O2 in the Mehler-peroxide reaction (MPR) and that the remaining alternative electron flux Ja(O2-independent) had been used for nitrate reduction, as indicated by an increase in nitrate reductase (NR) and glutathinone reductase (GR) activities. In addition, mild water deficit increased the proportion of electron flux for the photorespiratory carbon oxidation [Je(PCO)]. Water deficit significantly increased surperoxide radical production rate (O2•) and hydrogen peroxide content (H2O2), and the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), peroxidase (POD) and catalase (CAT) in cotton leaves also increased under water deficit. Therefore, the Mehler-peroxidation reaction, photorespiration and nitrate reduction helped to dissipated excess light energy, being important photoprotective mechanisms for adapting the photosynthetic apparatus to mild and moderate water deficit in cotton.

Additional keywords: Gossypium hirsutum, Mehler-peroxidase reaction, nitrate reduction, reactive oxidative metabolism, photosynthesis, water deficit.


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