The viability of recalcitrant seeds is lost following stress from either drying or freezing. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting from uncontrolled metabolic activity are likely responsible for seed sensitivity to drying. Nitric oxide (NO) and the ascorbate-glutathione cycle can be used for the detoxification of ROS, but their roles in the seed response to desiccation remain poorly understood. Here, we report that desiccation induces rapid accumulation of H2O2, which blocks recalcitrant Antiaris toxicaria seed germination; however, pretreatment with NO increases the activity of antioxidant ascorbate-glutathione pathway enzymes and metabolites, diminishes H2O2 production and assuages the inhibitory effects of desiccation on seed germination. Desiccation increases the protein carbonylation levels and reduces protein S-nitrosylation of these antioxidant enzymes; these effects can be reversed with NO treatment. Antioxidant protein S-nitrosylation levels can be further increased by the application of S-nitrosoglutathione reductase inhibitors, which further enhances NO-induced seed germination rates after desiccation and reduces desiccation-induced H2O2 accumulation. These findings suggest that NO reinforces recalcitrant seed desiccation tolerance by regulating antioxidant enzyme activities to stabilize H2O2 accumulation at an appropriate concentration. During this process, protein carbonylation and S-nitrosylation patterns are used as a specific molecular switch to control antioxidant enzyme activities.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 2-June-2011
Author(s): Bai X., Yang L., Tian M., Chen J., Shi J., Yang Y., Hu X.