Photosynthesis impairment and oxidative stress in Jatropha curcas exposed to drought are partially dependent on decreased catalase activity

  • Evandro Nascimento SilvaEmail author
  • Joaquim A. G. Silveira
  • Rafael M. Aragão
  • Cinthya F. Vieira
  • Fabrício E. L. Carvalho
Original Article


Catalase (CAT) is a crucial enzyme to control the excess peroxisomal H2O2 produced during photorespiration. In many plant species, this enzymatic activity decreases in response to drought but its specific role in photosynthesis and redox metabolism is still poorly understood. In this study was tested the hypothesis that photosynthetic and oxidative changes induced by drought are dependent on CAT activity. For this, Jatropha curcas, a drought-tolerant species, was subjected to water deficit and CAT inhibition by a specific pharmacological inhibitor (3-AT), in order to decrease the activity of this enzyme to a similar level as compared to that exhibited by water deficit-treated plants. The CO2 assimilation and other photosynthetic-related parameters were decreased more intensively by drought as compared to plants exposed to 3-AT, whereas the photochemical efficiency of PSII remained unchanged in both conditions. Non-photochemical quenching was strongly increased in drought-treated plants, but only slightly increased in 3-AT treatment. Membrane integrity and lipid peroxidation were strongly increased in both treatments, while H2O2 content was increased only by drought imposition. Ascorbate peroxidase and superoxide dismutase activities were increased in both drought and 3-AT treatments, but glycolate oxidase was strongly increased only in drought-stressed plants. The obtained results evidence that CO2 assimilation and oxidative protection in leaves of Jatropha curcas plants exposed to water deficit are greatly dependent on drought-induced CAT activity deficiency.


Catalase deficiency Jatropha curcas Oxidative stress Photosynthesis Water stress 





Apparent electron transport rate


Ascorbate peroxidase




CO2 assimilation rate

ΔF/\(F_{{\text{m}}}^{\prime }\)

Effective quantum yield of PSII


Electrolyte leakage


Maximum quantum yield of PSII


Mesophyll conductance


Non-photochemical quenching


Stomatal conductance


Superoxide dismutase



We would like to thank the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) (no. process 403876/2016-8) and Fundação Cearense de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (Funcap) (no. process BP2-0107-00033.01.00/2015) for financial support. We also acknowledge the Tamandua Farm Institute, Santa Terezinha-PB (Brazil), and especially to Prof. Dr. Ricardo Almeida Viégas for supplying the J. curcas seeds. FELC is supported by FUNCAP/CAPES (Bolsista CAPES/BRASIL-Proc. 88887.162856/2018-00).


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evandro Nascimento Silva
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joaquim A. G. Silveira
    • 2
  • Rafael M. Aragão
    • 3
  • Cinthya F. Vieira
    • 2
  • Fabrício E. L. Carvalho
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculdade de Educação, Ciências e Letras do Sertão CentralUniversidade Estadual do CearáQuixadáBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Metabolismo de Plantas, Departamento de Bioquímica e Biologia MolecularUniversidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil
  3. 3.Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia-UFRACapanemaBrazil

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