Response of brassinosteroids to nitrogen rates and their regulation on rice spikelet degeneration during meiosis

Weiyang Zhang, Lidong Fu, Chuanbao Men, Jixiang Yu, Jiayu Yao, Jiayan Sheng, Yunji Xu, Zhiqin Wang, Lijun Liu, Jianchang Yang*, Jianhua ZHANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The plant steroid hormones brassinosteroids (BRs) play pivotal roles in modulating flower and fruit production. Nitrogen (N) is a key factor affecting rice (Oryza sativa L.) production. We hypothesized that BRs would respond to N application rates at spikelet differentiation (SD) and regulate spikelet degeneration in rice. Three rice cultivars were field-grown and treated with five N rates at SD. Plant N and BRs contents, antioxidant capacity, and energy status were observed during meiosis in young panicles, and their relationships with spikelet degeneration were evaluated. In all the N treatments, the BRs, adenosine triphosphate, and energy charge levels, activities of the enzymes involved in energy metabolism, including cytochrome C oxidase and succinate dehydrogenase, total antioxidant capacity, and grain yield, were the highest, whereas hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content and vacuolar processing enzymes (VPE) genes expression levels, and spikelet degeneration rate were the lowest when plant N content was 2.6% during meiosis. The rice BRs-deficient mutants showed substantial reduction in BRs levels, antioxidant capacity, and energy status, but great increase in H2O2 content, VPE genes expression levels, and spikelet degeneration rate than the wild type (WT); moreover, these parameters in WT panicles could be regulated, whereas in BRs-deficient mutant panicles, they were not distinctly affected by N application. The results indicated that BRs mediate the effects of N rates on spikelet degeneration, and elevated BRs levels in rice panicles effectively inhibit spikelet degeneration when plant N content is 2.6% during meiosis by elevating antioxidant capacity and energy status.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere201
JournalFood and Energy Security
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • brassinosteroids
  • nitrogen
  • rice (Oryza sativa L.)
  • spikelet degeneration


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