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NaCl effects on proline metabolism in rice (Oryza sativa) seedlings


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Salt-stress effects on osmotic adjustment, ion and proline concentrations as well as proline metabolizing enzyme activities were studied in two rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars differing in salinity resistance: I Kong Pao (IKP; salt-sensitive) and Nona Bokra (salt-resistant). The salt-sensitive cultivar exposed to 50 and 100 mM NaCl in nutritive solution for 3 and 10 days accumulated higher levels of sodium and proline than the salt-resistant cultivar and displayed lower levels of osmotic adjustment. Proline accumulation was not related to proteolysis and could not be explained by stress-induced modifications in Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase (P5CR; EC or proline dehydrogenase (PDH; EC activities recorded in vitro. The extracted ornithine Δ-aminotransferase (OAT; EC activity was increased by salt stress in the salt-sensitive cultivar only. In both genotypes, salt stress induced an increase in the aminating activity of root glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH; EC while deaminating activity was reduced in the leaves of the salt-sensitive cultivar. The total extracted glutamine synthetase activity (GS; EC was reduced in response to salinity but NaCl had contrasting effects on GS1 and GS2 isoforms in salt-sensitive IKP. Salinity increased the activity of ferredoxin-dependent glutamate synthase (Fd-GOGAT; EC extracted from leaves of both genotypes and increased the activity of NADH-dependent glutamate synthase (NADH-GOGAT; EC in the salt-sensitive cultivar. It is suggested that proline accumulation is a symptom of salt-stress injury in rice and that its accumulation in salt-sensitive plants results from an increase in OAT activity and an increase in the endogenous pool of its precursor glutamate. The physiological significance of the recorded changes are analyzed in relation to the functions of these enzymes in plant metabolism.