Responses of maize antioxidant enzymes to drought stress
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Maize (Zea mays L) was subjected to drought stress for 28 days. The effects of the drought stress on growth, H2O2 content and lipid peroxidation were investigated and the activities of antioxidant enzymes [superoxide dismutase (SOD), ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and catalase (CAT)], were measured. Reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) was used to measure relative expression of APX and CAT genes in response to drought stress. Maize biomass was significantly reduced and cell death was higher in drought-stressed plants. Similarly, the activities of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, APX and CAT) increased in drought-stressed plants. Lipid peroxidation (measured as malondialdehyde content) and hydrogen peroxide content increased in drought-stressed plants. The expression of APX genes in drought-stressed (water-deprived) leaves was significantly higher than the well-watered control. CAT gene expression showed differential response between the leaves and roots.