• abscisic acid;
  • antioxidant enzymes;
  • cytosolic calcium;
  • NADPH oxidase;
  • plasma membrane;
  • reactive oxygen species;
  • signal transduction


The signal interactions between calcium (Ca2+) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) originated from plasma membrane NADPH oxidase in abscisic acid (ABA)-induced antioxidant defence were investigated in leaves of maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings. Treatment with ABA led to significant increases in the activity of plasma membrane NADPH oxidase, the production of leaf O2, and the activities of several antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and glutathione reductase (GR). However, such increases were blocked by the pretreatment with Ca2+ chelator EGTA or Ca2+ channel blockers La3+ and verapamil, and NADPH oxidase inhibitors such as diphenylene iodonium (DPI), imidazole and pyridine. Treatment with Ca2+ also significantly induced the increases in NADPH oxidase activity, O2 production and the activities of antioxidant enzymes, and the increases were arrested by pretreatment with the NADPH oxidase inhibitors. Treatment with oxidative stress induced by paraquat, which generates O2, led to the induction of antioxidant defence enzymes, and the up-regulation was suppressed by the pretreatment of Ca2+ chelator and Ca2+ channel blockers. Our data suggest that a cross-talk between Ca2+ and ROS originated from plasma membrane-bound NADPH oxidase is involved in the ABA signal transduction pathway leading to the induction of antioxidant enzyme activity, and Ca2+ functions upstream as well as downstream of ROS production in the signal transduction event in plants.