Copper suppresses abscisic acid catabolism and catalase activity, and inhibits seed germination of rice

Nenghui Ye, Haoxuan Li, Guohui Zhu, Yinggao Liu, Rui Liu, Weifeng Xu, Yu Jing, Xinxiang Peng, Jianhua ZHANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Although copper (Cu) is an essential micronutrient for plants, a slight excess of Cu in soil can be harmful to plants. Unfortunately, Cu contamination is a growing problem all over the world due to human activities, and poses a soil stress to plant development. As one of the most important biological processes, seed germination is sensitive to Cu stress. However, little is known about the mechanism of Cu-induced inhibition of seed germination. In the present study, we investigated the relationship between Cu and ABA which is the predominant regulator of seed germination. Cu at a concentration of 30 μM effectively inhibited germination of rice caryopsis. ABA content in germinating seeds under copper stress was also higher than that under control conditions. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) revealed that Cu treatment reduced the expression of OsABA8ox2, a key gene of ABA catabolism in rice seeds. In addition, both malondialdehyde (MDA) and H 2 O 2 contents were increased by Cu stress in the germinating seeds. Antioxidant enzyme assays revealed that only catalase activity was reduced by excess Cu, which was consistent with the mRNA profile of OsCATa during seed germination under Cu stress. Together, our results demonstrate that suppression of ABA catabolism and catalase (CAT) activity by excess Cu leads to the inhibition of seed germination of rice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2008-2016
Number of pages9
JournalPlant and Cell Physiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Abscisic acid (ABA)
  • Catalase
  • Copper
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Rice (Oryza sativa)
  • Seed germination


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