* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received November 11, 2011; Revision received December 30, 2011
Nitrate reductase (NR) and peroxidase (POX) are important enzymes involved in the metabolism of reactive oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen species in leaves of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seedlings. It has been confirmed that NR activity in wheat leaves depends on the light conditions and the presence of nitrates during the cultivation of the seedlings, and it is regulated by the molybdenum cofactor and phosphorylation. In the present study, confocal microscopy and EPR spectroscopy studies showed that the addition of nitrite, a product of NR, increased the level of nitric oxide (NO). This increase was prevented by the addition of sodium azide, an inhibitor of NR. The results suggest that in wheat leaves one of the key functions of NR is the formation of the signaling NO molecule. Cultivation of green plants under conditions of prolonged (4 days) darkness, a strong stress factor for photosynthesizing cells, decreased the activity of NR. Moreover, darkness induced significant elevation of the POX activity that was prevented by the addition of nitrate to the growth medium. It is proposed that the changes in light conditions result in the competition between nitrate- and ROS-metabolizing activities of POX in leaves, and a possible interaction between NR and POX controls the levels of NO and ROS in the leaf tissue.
KEY WORDS: reactive oxygen species, nitrate reductase, nitric oxide, peroxidase, Triticum aestivum L.