Coronatine inhibits mesocotyl elongation by promoting ethylene production in etiolated maize seedlings

  • Yingru Liu
  • Yuyi Zhou
  • Guanmin Huang
  • Nana Zhu
  • Zhaohu Li
  • Mingcai Zhang
  • Liusheng DuanEmail author
Original paper


Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the most important cereal crops in the world. In order to survive, plants must regulate their growth in response to multiple developmental and environmental cues, including modulating lodging stress. Coronatine is a chlorosis-inducing non-host-specific phytotoxin produced by several members of the Pseudomonas syringe group of pathovars, which can lead to leaf chlorosis, anthocyanin production, and growth inhibition. In this study, we investigated the physiological mechanism for coronatine during maize mesocotyl growth and development. Using ethephon as a positive control, we found that coronatine inhibited the elongation of mesocotyls in maize B73 etiolated seedlings which was related to ethylene production. Both coronatine and ethephon increased mesocotyls coarsening by increasing the cell diameter and shortened it by inhibiting cell elongation. Coronatine also thickened cell walls in longitudinal and transverse sections by increasing the expression of the cellulose lignin synthesis gene ZmEXT. To further verify the correlation between coronatine and ethephon during mesocotyl growth, we detected the release of endogenous ethylene and the expression of ZmACOs and ZmACSs. We found that coronatine increased the ethylene production while inhibiting auxin synthesis, thereby inhibiting mesocotyl growth.


Maize seedling Coronatine Ethephon Parenchyma cell Elongation Mesocotyl 



This study was funded by Grants from The National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (Grant No. 31425017) & The National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFD0300405-2.

Author contributions

LD, YZ, YL designed the research; YL performed the experiments with the assistance of YZ, GH and NZ; YL analyzed the data; ZL and MZ gave some important suggestion; YL wrote the paper. All authors reviewed the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10725_2019_555_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Plant Physiology and BiochemistryChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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