Abscisic acid and ethylene interact in rice spikelets in response to water stress during meiosis

Jianchang Yang, Jianhua ZHANG*, Kai Liu, Zhiqin Wang, Lijun Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated whether and how the interaction between abscisic acid (ABA) and ethylene is involved in the regulation of rice (Oryza sativa L.) spikelet sterility when subjected to water stress during meiosis. Two rice cultivars, HA-3 (drought-resistant) and WY-7 (drought-susceptible), were used and subjected to well-watered and water-stressed (WS) treatments during meiosis (15-2 days before heading). Leaf water potentials of both cultivars markedly decreased during the day as a result of the WS treatment, but panicle water potentials remained constant. The percentage of sterile spikelets in WS plants was increased by 49.7% for WJ-7 but only 12.7% for HA-3. ABA, ethylene, and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid were all enhanced in spikelets by the water stress, but ethylene was enhanced more than ABA in WY-7 when compared with that in HA-3. Spikelet sterility was significantly reduced when ABA or amino-ethoxyvinylglycine, an inhibitor of ethylene synthesis, was applied to the panicles of WS plants at the early meiosis stage. Application of ethephon, an ethylene-releasing agent, or fluridone, an inhibitor of ABA synthesis, had the opposite effect, and sterility was increased. The results suggest that antagonistic interactions between ABA and ethylene may be involved in mediating the effect of water stress on spikelet fertility. A higher ratio of ABA to ethylene would be a physiologic trait of rice adaptation to water stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-328
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Plant Growth Regulation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • 1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC)
  • Abscisic acid (ABA)
  • Drought resistance
  • Ethylene
  • Meiosis
  • Oryza sativa (rice)
  • Spikelet sterility
  • Water stress


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