DataSheet_1_Enhanced Nitric Oxide Synthesis Through Nitrate Supply Improves Drought Tolerance of Sugarcane Plants.pdf
Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule associated with many biochemical and physiological processes in plants under stressful conditions. Nitrate reductase (NR) not only mediates the reduction of NO3− to NO2− but also reduces NO2− to NO, a relevant pathway for NO production in higher plants. Herein, we hypothesized that sugarcane plants supplied with more NO3− as a source of N would produce more NO under water deficit. Such NO would reduce oxidative damage and favor photosynthetic metabolism and growth under water limiting conditions. Sugarcane plants were grown in nutrient solution and received the same amount of nitrogen, with varying nitrate:ammonium ratios (100:0 and 70:30). Plants were then grown under well-watered or water deficit conditions. Under water deficit, plants exhibited higher root [NO3−] and [NO2−] when supplied with 100% NO3−. Accordingly, the same plants also showed higher root NR activity and root NO production. We also found higher photosynthetic rates and stomatal conductance in plants supplied with more NO3−, which was associated with increased root growth. ROS accumulation was reduced due to increases in the activity of catalase in leaves and superoxide dismutase and ascorbate peroxidase in roots of plants supplied with 100% NO3− and facing water deficit. Such positive responses to water deficit were offset when a NO scavenger was supplied to the plants, thus confirming that increases in leaf gas exchange and plant growth were induced by NO. Concluding, NO3− supply is an interesting strategy for alleviating the negative effects of water deficit on sugarcane plants, increasing drought tolerance through enhanced NO production. Our data also provide insights on how plant nutrition could improve crop tolerance against abiotic stresses, such as drought.