Proline metabolic dynamics and implications in drought tolerance of peanut plants

Ana Laura Furlan, Eliana Bianucci, Walter Giordano, Stella Castro, Donald F. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Proline accumulation and metabolism are associated with mechanisms of abiotic stress avoidance in plants. Proline accumulation generally improves osmotic stress tolerance whereas proline metabolism can have varying effects from ATP generation to the formation of reactive oxygen species. To further understand the roles of proline in stress protection, two peanut cultivars with contrasting tolerance to drought were examined by transcriptional and biochemical analyses during water stress. Plants exposed to polyethylene glycol had diminished relative water content and increased proline content; while, only the drought sensitive plants, cultivar Granoleico, showed lipid oxidative damage (measured as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances). The expression of proline biosynthesis genes (P5CS1, P5CS2a, P5CS2b, P5CR) was increased in both cultivars upon exposure to water stress. However, the relative expression of proline catabolism genes (ProDH1, ProDH2) was increased only in the sensitive cultivar during stress. Exogenous addition of proline and the proline analogue thiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (T4C), both substrates of proline dehydrogenase, was also used to exacerbate and identify plant responses. Pretreatment of plants with T4C induced unique changes in the drought tolerant EC-98 cultivar such as higher mRNA levels of proline biosynthetic and catabolic ProDH genes, even in the absence of water stress. The increased levels of ProDH gene expression, potentially associated with higher T4C conversion to cysteine, may contribute to the tolerant phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-578
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Drought stress
  • Metabolism
  • Proline
  • Thiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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