C4 photosynthetic enzymes play a key role in wheat spike bracts primary carbon metabolism response under water deficit.Plant Physiol Biochem 2019; 142:163-172PP
C4 photosynthetic enzymes are present in C3 plants and participate in non-photosynthetic metabolism. Wheat spike bracts had a higher drought tolerance, photosynthesis and senesced later compared to the flag leaves under water deficit. This research was conducted to investigate the different response of primary carbon metabolism induced by C4 photosynthetic enzymes in wheat flag leaves and spike bracts including glumes and lemmas under water deficit. The activities of C4 photosynthetic enzymes and Ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase (Rubisco), the expression of related genes and primary carbon metabolism contents were demonstrated in wheat flag leaves and spike bracts exposed to water deficit. Results showed that drought stress strongly inhibited wheat photosynthetic metabolism by decreasing Rubisco activity in flag leaves. The activities of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC), NADP-malic enzyme (NADP-ME), phosphate dikinase (PPDK) and NADP- malic dehydrogenase (NADP-MDH) increased in wheat spike bracts under water deficit. Transcript levels of C4 photosynthetic genes in wheat spike bracts were higher under water deficit than that of control. Furthermore, the results indicated that drought stress induced changes in the contents of primary carbon metabolism including malate, oxaloacetic acid (OAA), citric, fumaric acid were organ-specific. In conclusion, the functions of C4 photosynthetic enzymes appear to be important for wheat spike bracts primary carbon metabolism and defence response under drought stress.