Horticulture, Environment, and Biotechnology

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 31–40 | Cite as

Salicylic acid improves drought-stress tolerance by regulating the redox status and proline metabolism in Brassica rapa

  • Van Hien La
  • Bok-Rye Lee
  • Qian Zhang
  • Sang-Hyun Park
  • Md. Tabibul Islam
  • Tae-Hwan KimEmail author
Research Report


Salicylic acid (SA) has been regarded as the important phytohormone in improving abiotic stress tolerance. However, the physiological mechanisms on drought stress tolerance remain largely unknown. To investigate the role of SA in drought-stress tolerance in Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis) with regard to cellular redox control and proline metabolism, Chinese cabbages were pretreated or untreated with SA for 7 days, then grown under well-watered or drought-stressed conditions for 14 days. The osmotic potential and chlorophyll and carotenoid contents were decreased in the drought-stressed plants; however, the negative effects of drought on these parameters was substantially ameliorated in the SA-pretreated plants. Drought stress resulted in increased O2, H2O2, and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents in the non-SA pretreated plants relative to the SA-pretreated plants. Superoxide dismutase, catalase, guaiacol peroxidase, and ascorbate peroxidase were highly activated in drought-stressed plants, whereas these substances were further activated in the SA-pretreated plants under drought stress. Drought stress resulted in a significant decrease of the reduced/oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSG) and reduced/oxidized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH/NADP) ratios, whereas plants pretreated with SA had levels similar to those in the well-watered plants. Under drought conditions, SA pretreatment significantly increased proline content by up-regulating the expression of genes encoding pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthase (P5CSA and P5CSB) and down-regulating the expression of the gene encoding proline dehydrogenase (PDH) compared to non-SA pretreated plants. These results indicate that a pretreatment with SA improves drought-stress tolerance by maintaining redox homeostasis and activating proline biosynthesis.


Chinese cabbage Drought Proline Redox status ROS scavenging Salicylic acid 



This work was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation of South Korea (NRF-2016K1A3A1A21005624).


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Copyright information

© Korean Society for Horticultural Science 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Van Hien La
    • 1
  • Bok-Rye Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qian Zhang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sang-Hyun Park
    • 1
    • 4
  • Md. Tabibul Islam
    • 1
  • Tae-Hwan Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Animal Science, Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology, College of Agriculture and Life ScienceChonnam National UniversityGwangjuRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Asian Pear Research instituteChonnam National UniversityGwangjuRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Center for Plant Water-Use and Nutrition Regulation, College of Life ScienceFujian Agriculture and Forestry UniversityJinshan, FuzhouChina
  4. 4.Institute of Environmentally-Friendly Agriculture (IEFA)Chonnam National UniversityGwangjuRepublic of Korea

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