J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2009, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (7): 638-645.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2009.00841.x

Special Issue: Abiotic Stresses

• Plant-environmental Interactions • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Reactive Oxygen Species Scavenging Enzymes and Down-Adjustment of Metabolism Level in Mitochondria Associated with Desiccation-Tolerance Acquisition of Maize Embryo

Jing-Hua Wu1,2, Wei-Qing Wang1,2, Song-Quan Song1 and Hong-Yan Cheng1*   

  1. 1 Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    2 Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2009-02-11 Accepted:2009-03-27 Published:2009-06-25
  • About author: *Author for correspondence Tel: +86 10 6283 6049; Fax: +86 10 6259 0348; E-mail: hycheng@ibcas.ac.cn


It is a well-known fact that a mature seed can survive losing most of its water, yet how seeds acquire desiccation-tolerance is not well understood. Through sampling maize embryos of different developmental stages and comparatively studying the integrity, oxygen consumption rate and activities of antioxidant enzymes in the mitochondria, the main origin site of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in seed cells, we found that before an embryo achieves desiccation-tolerance, its mitochondria shows a more active metabolism, and might produce more ROS and therefore need a more effective ROS scavenging system. However, embryo dehydration in this developmental stage declined the activities of most main antioxidant enzymes and accumulated thiobarbituric acid-reactive products in mitochondria, and then destroyed the structure and functional integrity of mitochondria. In physiologically-matured embryos (dehydration-tolerant), mitochondria showed lower metabolism levels, and no decline in ROS scavenging enzyme activities and less accumulation of thiobarbituric acid-reactive products after embryo dehydration. These data indicate that seed desiccation-tolerance acquisition might be associated with down-adjustment of the metabolism level in the late development stage, resulting in less ROS production, and ROS scavenging enzymes becoming desiccation-tolerant and then ensuring the structure and functional integrity of mitochondria.

Wu JH, Wang WQ, Song SQ, Cheng HY (2009).Reactive oxygen species scavenging enzymes and down-adjustment of metabolism level in mitochondria associated with desiccation-tolerance acquisition of maize embryo. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 51(7), 638-645.

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