Interactions between polyamines and ethylene during grain filling in wheat grown under water deficit conditions
This study tested the hypothesis that the interaction between polyamines and ethylene may mediate the effects of soil drying on grain filling of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Two rice cultivars were pot grown. Three treatments, well-watered, moderate soil drying (MD), and severe soil drying (SD), were imposed from 8 d post-anthesis until maturity. The endosperm cell division rate, grain-filling rate, and grain weight of earlier flowering superior spikelets showed no significant differences among the three treatments. However, those of the later flowering inferior spikelets were significantly increased under MD and significantly reduced under SD when compared with those which were well watered. The two cultivars showed the same tendencies. MD increased the contents of free spermidine (Spd) and free spermine (Spm), the activities of S-adenosyl-L-methionine decarboxylase and Spd synthase, and expression levels of polyamine synthesis genes, and decreased the ethylene evolution rate, the contents of 1-aminocylopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) and hydrogen peroxide, the activities of ACC synthase, ACC oxidase, and polyamine oxidase, and the expression levels of ethylene synthesis genes in inferior spikelets. SD exhibited the opposite effects. Application of Spd, Spm, or an inhibitor of ethylene synthesis to rice panicles significantly reduced ethylene and ACC levels, but significantly increased Spd and Spm contents, grain-filling rate, and grain weight of inferior spikelets. The results were reversed when ACC or an inhibitor of Spd and Spm synthesis was applied. The results suggest that a potential metabolic interaction between polyamines and ethylene biosynthesis responds to soil drying and mediates the grain filling of inferior spikelets in rice.