Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 993–1004 | Cite as

Exogenous nitric oxide donor and arginine provide protection against short-term drought stress in wheat seedlings

  • Mirza Hasanuzzaman
  • Kamrun Nahar
  • Anisur Rahman
  • Masashi Inafuku
  • Hirosuke Oku
  • Masayuki FujitaEmail author
Research Article


Nitric oxide (NO) is an important plant signaling molecule that has a vital role in abiotic stress tolerance. In the present study, we assessed drought-induced (15 and 30% PEG, polyethylene glycol) damage in wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Prodip) seedlings and mitigation by the synergistic effect of exogenous Arg (0.5 mM l-Arginine) and an NO donor (0.5 mM sodium nitroprusside, SNP). Drought stress sharply decreased the leaf relative water content (RWC) but markedly increased the proline (Pro) content in wheat seedlings. Drought stress caused overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and methylglyoxal (MG) due to the inefficiency of antioxidant enzymes, the glyoxalase system, and the ascorbate-glutathione pool. However, supplementation with the NO donor and Arg enhanced the antioxidant defense system (both non-enzymatic and enzymatic components) in drought-stressed seedlings. Application of the NO donor and Arg also enhanced the glyoxalase system and reduced the MG content by increasing the activities of the glyoxalase system enzymes (Gly I and Gly II), which restored the leaf RWC and further increased the Pro content under drought stress conditions. Exogenous NO donor and Arg application enhanced the endogenous NO content, which positively regulated the antioxidant system and reduced ROS production. Thus, the present study reveals the crucial roles of Arg and NO in enhancing drought stress tolerance in wheat seedlings by upgrading their water status and reducing oxidative stress and MG toxicity.


Amino acid AsA–GSH pathway Glutathione Osmotic stress Oxidative stress Phytohormone 



The first author is grateful to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Japan for financial support. We acknowledge Taufika Islam Anee, Mazhar Ul Alam and Farah Tasmin, Laboratory of Plant Stress Responses, Faculty of Agriculture, Kagawa University, Japan for the critical reading and formatting of this manuscript.

Author contributions

M.H., M.F. and H.O. conceived and designed the experiments; M.H., K.N. and A.R. performed the experiments; M.H. and M.I. analyzed the data; M.F., M.I. and H.O. contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools; K.N. and M.H. wrote the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Prof. H.S. Srivastava Foundation for Science and Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirza Hasanuzzaman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kamrun Nahar
    • 3
  • Anisur Rahman
    • 1
  • Masashi Inafuku
    • 1
  • Hirosuke Oku
    • 1
  • Masayuki Fujita
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Molecular Biotechnology Group, Center of Molecular Biosciences (COMB), Tropical Biosphere Research CenterUniversity of the RyukyusNishiharaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Agronomy, Faculty of AgricultureSher-e-Bangla Agricultural UniversityDhakaBangladesh
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural Botany, Faculty of AgricultureSher-e-Bangla Agricultural UniversityDhakaBangladesh
  4. 4.Laboratory of Plant Stress Responses, Faculty of AgricultureKagawa UniversityMiki-cho, Kita-gunJapan

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