Abscisic acid and ethylene interact in wheat grains in response to soil drying during grain filling

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

169 Citations (Scopus)


• Grain filling is an intensive transportation process regulated by soil drying and plant hormones. This study investigated how the interaction between abscisic acid (ABA) and ethylene is involved in mediating the effects of soil drying on grain filling in wheat (Triticum aestivum). • Two wheat cultivars, cv. Yangmai 6 and cv. Yangmai 11, were field-grown, and three irrigation treatments, well-watered, moderately soil-dried (MD) and severely soil-dried (SD), were imposed from 9 d post anthesis until maturity. • A higher ABA concentration and lower concentrations of ethylene and 1-aminocylopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) were found in superior grains (within a spike, those grains that were filled earlier and reached a greater size) than in inferior grains (within a spike, those grains that were filled later and were smaller), and were associated with a higher filling rate in the superior grains. An increase in ABA concentration and reductions in ethylene and ACC concentrations in grains under MD conditions increased the grain-filling rate, whereas much higher ethylene, ACC and ABA concentrations under SD conditions reduced the grain-filling rate. Application of chemical regulators gave similar results. The results did not differ between the two cultivars. • The grain-filling rate in wheat is mediated by the balance between ABA and ethylene in the grains, and an increase in the ratio of ABA to ethylene increases the grain-filling rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-303
Number of pages11
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • 1-aminocylopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC)
  • Abscisic acid
  • Ethylene
  • Grain filling
  • Inferior grain
  • Soil drying
  • Superior grain
  • Triticum aestivum (wheat)


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