Carbon-Nitrogen Metabolic Responses and Adaptive Strategies to Low-Nitrogen Stress in Glycine soja
Nitrogen (N) is an essential mineral nutrient for plant growth and development. Wild soybean (Glycine soja), which has many superior traits, is an important germplasm resource and is also an excellent experimental material for researching the mechanisms of low-N tolerance. In this study, the physiological differences between common wild soybean (W1) and low-N tolerant wild soybean (W2) among growth characteristics, photosynthetic carbon (C) metabolism, N metabolism and C-N metabolic-coupling relationship were investigated, and the mechanism of low-N tolerance of wild soybean was explained at three different levels of low-N stress. Both W1 and W2 showed some resistance to low-level N stress. However, W2 could withstand the damage by increasing the root length and root–shoot ratio under high-level stress conditions. Moreover, when resisting low-N stress, W2 maintained a stable photosynthetic rate and coordinated ion balance to maintain required nutrient levels. W2 also tolerated low N by coordinating the C-N metabolic balance through the accumulation of soluble sugars to provide energy and C skeletons for N metabolism and through enhanced N metabolic enzyme activities and soluble protein accumulation levels to supply the enzyme proteins and photosynthetic pigments for C metabolism. The current results provide a physiological methodology and theoretical basis for protecting wild soybean germplasm resources and improving cultivated soybean.
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