Date of this Version
2019 The authors.
Photosynthesis is sensitive to water deficit (WD) stress. Maize (Zea mays L.) yield is vulnerable to water stress, especially if it occurs during the reproductive stage. In this study, the expression patterns of photosynthesis-related genes, together with photosynthetic gas-exchange and fluorescence parameters were investigated in a maize inbred line exposed to 50% of field water capacity (moderate WD) for 15 d after tassel emergence. The results demonstrated that WD down-regulated expression of psbA, psbB, psbC, psbP, psaA, psaB, and cab, especially at later periods of WD stress. Besides, with the increased WD stress, the steady decline in the value of photosynthesis performance index, maximum quantum yield of primary photochemistry, quantum yield for electron transport, quantum yield for the reduction of end acceptors of PSI per photon absorbed, and the efficiency of an electron beyond QA − that reduced PSI acceptors, and a clear increase in the J-step and I-step, K-band as well as L-band were observed. The results suggested that WD might restrict light-harvesting and electron transport. Interestingly, leaf transcript levels of rbcL and rbcS were up-regulated at the later stage of water stress in maize inbred line, which helped repair injury to PSII centers and maintain PSII activity (increased quantum yield of dissipation and effective antenna size of an active reaction center) under 15-d lasting WD.