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Physiological and proteome studies of maize (Zea mays L.) in response to leaf removal under high plant density

By Shanshan Wei, Xiangyu Wang, Dong Jiang and Shuting Dong


Abstract Background Under high plant density, intensifying competition among individual plants led to overconsumption of energy and nutrients and resulted in an almost dark condition in the lower strata of the canopy, which suppressed the photosynthetic potential of the shaded leaves. Leaf removal could help to ameliorate this problem and increase crop yields. To reveal the mechanism of leaf removal in maize, tandem mass tags label-based quantitative analysis coupled with liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry were used to capture the differential protein expression profiles of maize subjected to the removal of the two uppermost leaves (S2), the four uppermost leaves (S4), and with no leaf removal as control (S0). Results Excising leaves strengthened the light transmission rate of the canopy and increased the content of malondialdehyde, whereas decreased the activities of superoxide dismutase and peroxidase. Two leaves removal increased the photosynthetic capacity of ear leaves and the grain yield significantly, whereas S4 decreased the yield markedly. Besides, 239 up-accumulated proteins and 99 down-accumulated proteins were identified between S2 and S0, which were strongly enriched into 30 and 23 functional groups; 71 increased proteins and 42 decreased proteins were identified between S4 and S0, which were strongly enriched into 22 and 23 functional groups, for increased and decreased proteins, respectively. Conclusions Different defoliation levels had contrastive effects on maize. The canopy light transmission rate was strengthened and proteins related to photosynthetic electron-transfer reaction were up-regulated significantly for treatment S2, which improved the leaf photosynthetic capacity, and obtained a higher grain yield consequently. In contrast, S4 decreased the grain yield and increased the expressions of proteins and genes associated with fatty acid metabolism. Besides, both S2 and S4 exaggerated the defensive response of maize in physiological and proteomic level. Although further studies are required, the results in our study provide new insights to the further improvement in maize grain yield by leaf removal

Topics: Leaf removal, Light transmission rate, Maize, Photosynthesis, TMT label, Botany, QK1-989
Publisher: BMC
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1186/s12870-018-1607-8
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