Abscisic acid and ethylene interact in wheat grains in response to soil drying during grain filling


Author for correspondence: Jianhua Zhang Tel: +852 34117350 Fax: +852 34115995 Email: jzhang@hkbu.edu.hk


  • • Grain filling is an intensive transportation process regulated by soil drying and plant hormones. This study investigated how the interaction between abscisic acid (ABA) and ethylene is involved in mediating the effects of soil drying on grain filling in wheat (Triticum aestivum).
  • • Two wheat cultivars, cv. Yangmai 6 and cv. Yangmai 11, were field-grown, and three irrigation treatments, well-watered, moderately soil-dried (MD) and severely soil-dried (SD), were imposed from 9 d post anthesis until maturity.
  • • A higher ABA concentration and lower concentrations of ethylene and 1-aminocylopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) were found in superior grains (within a spike, those grains that were filled earlier and reached a greater size) than in inferior grains (within a spike, those grains that were filled later and were smaller), and were associated with a higher filling rate in the superior grains. An increase in ABA concentration and reductions in ethylene and ACC concentrations in grains under MD conditions increased the grain-filling rate, whereas much higher ethylene, ACC and ABA concentrations under SD conditions reduced the grain-filling rate. Application of chemical regulators gave similar results. The results did not differ between the two cultivars.
  • • 

    The grain-filling rate in wheat is mediated by the balance between ABA and ethylene in the grains, and an increase in the ratio of ABA to ethylene increases the grain-filling rate.