Welcome to Acta Agronomica Sinica,

Acta Agronomica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (10): 1535-1543.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1006.2019.93007


Regulation of coronatine on the grain filling characteristics and starch synthesis in maize kernels

YU Hai-Yue,HAN Zi-Xuan,ZHANG Yu-Shi,DUAN Liu-Sheng,ZHANG Ming-Cai(),LI Zhao-Hu   

  1. Engineering Research Center of Plant Growth Regulator, Ministry of Education / College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
  • Received:2019-02-12 Accepted:2019-05-12 Online:2019-10-12 Published:2019-09-10
  • Contact: Ming-Cai ZHANG E-mail:zmc1214@163.com
  • Supported by:
    This study was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China(2017YFD0300410)


Maize yield is strong linked to grain filling characteristics, which one important strategy to be improved for achieving high yield of maize. This study was conducted to clarity the effects of coronatine (COR) on grain filling characteristics, starch content, activities of starch biosynthetic enzymes and their gene expression in maize kernels. The two-year field experiments showed that COR had a significant concentration effect on ear traits and yield of maize. The appropriate COR concentration of 1.0 mg L -1 could significantly reduce the length of bald tip of ear and increase the number of grains per ear and 1000-grain weight, which increased the maize yield. Meanwhile, high concentration of COR with 10 mg L -1 (COR 10) increased grain filling rate, but shortened the duration of grain filling, which led to reducing grain weight. However, COR 1.0 treatment increased grain filling rate, prolonged the duration of grain filling and increased grain weight. In addition, COR 1.0 significantly regulated the activities of AGPase, SSS, GBSS, and SBE during grain filling, and increased the expression levels of starch synthetic genes ZmSH1, ZmSH2, ZmWX1, and ZmAE1, which increased amylopectin, amylose and total starch contents. In conclusion, COR can regulate grain morphogenesis and dry matter accumulation in maize, providing a new technical method for maize production and efficient cultivation.

Key words: coronatine, maize, grain filling characteristics, starch biosynthesis, yield

Table 1

Effect of coronatine on the ear traits and yield of maize"

Ear length
Ear diameter
Blade length
Kernels per ear
1000-kernel weight (g)
Grain yield
(kg hm-2)
2016 对照CK 17.8 a 48.5 a 2.02 b 464.3 b 319.8 ab 9126 b
COR0.1 17.5 a 48.2 a 1.89 b 471.4 b 317.7 ab 9119 b
COR1.0 18.1 a 48.6 a 1.35 a 499.8 a 321.3 a 9393 a
COR10 18.0 a 48.4 a 1.82 b 470.0 b 312.8 b 9165 b
2017 对照CK 16.6 a 46.3 a 0.89 a 480.0 b 288.5 ab 8375 b
COR0.1 16.4 a 46.4 a 0.71 a 494.2 b 287.8 ab 8342 b
COR1.0 16.7 a 46.8 a 0.57 b 521.1 a 294.3 a 8781 a
COR10 16.5 a 46.5 a 0.87 a 498.4 b 278.2 b 8299 b

Fig. 1

Effect of coronatine on grain weight and grain filling rate of maize A and C indicated grain weight and grain filling rate in 2016 summer maize growing season respectively; B and D indicated grain weight and grain filling rate in 2017 summer maize growing season respectively."

Table 2

Effect of coronatine on parameters of grain filling characteristics of maize"

Tmax (d)
Vmax (mg kernel-1 d-1)
Vmean (mg kernel-1 d-1)
D (d)
2016 COR0.1 26.5 b 9.7 c 6.6 c 47.3 b
COR1.0 27.0 a 10.3 b 7.0 b 50.6 a
COR10 24.8 c 10.9 a 7.3 a 38.5 c
对照CK 26.6 b 9.8 c 6.6 c 46.1 b
2017 COR0.1 26.4 b 9.6 c 6.5 b 44.9 b
COR1.0 26.8 a 10.2 b 6.9 a 49.4 a
COR10 25.2 c 10.7 a 7.1 a 39.5 c
对照CK 26.3 b 9.6 c 6.5 b 46.5 b

Table 3

Effect of coronatine on the starch content of maize"

Amylose content
(mg kernel-1)
Amylopectin content
(mg kernel-1)
Starch content
(mg kernel-1)
2016 对照CK 49.7 b 150.3 b 200.0 b
COR0.1 48.4 b 148.3 b 196.7 b
COR1.0 52.5 a 162.5 a 215.0 a
COR10 45.2 c 136.7 c 181.9 c
2017 对照CK 42.4 b 151.7 b 194.1 b
COR0.1 41.3 b 148.5 b 189.8 b
COR1.0 45.5 a 160.4 a 206.0 a
COR10 40.9 b 134.8 c 175.7 c

Fig. 2

Effect of coronatine on activities of AGPcase, SSS, GBSS, and SBE in maize kernels A, C, E, and G indicated activities of AGPcase, SSS, GBSS, and SBE in maize kernels in 2016 growing season respectively; B, D, F, and H indicated activities of AGPcase, SSS, GBSS, and SBE in maize kernels in 2017 growing season, respectively."

Fig. 3

Effect of coronatine on relative expression levels of ZmSH1, ZmSH2, ZmWX1, and ZmAE1 in maize kernels A, C, E, and G indicated relative expression levels of ZmSH1, ZmSH2, ZmWX1, and ZmAE1 in maize kernels in 2016 growing season respectively; B, D, F, and H indicated relative expression levels of ZmSH1, ZmSH2, ZmWX1, and ZmAE1 in maize kernel in 2017 growing season respectively."

[1] Borrás L, Zinselmeier C, Senior M L, Westgate M E, Muszynski M G . Characterization of grain filling patterns in diverse maize germplasm. Crop Sci, 2009,49:999-1009.
[2] Sadras V O, Egli D B . Seed size variation in grain crops: allometric relationships between rate and duration of seed growth. Crop Sci, 2008,48:408-416.
[3] Tian Z X, Qian Q, Liu Q Q, Yan M X, Liu X F, Yan C J, Liu G F, Gao Z Y, Tang S Z, Zeng D L, Wang Y H, Yu J M, Gu M H, Li J Y . Allelic diversities in rice starch biosynthesis lead to a diverse array of rice eating and cooking qualities. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2009,106:21760-21765.
[4] Ball S G, Morell M K . From bacterial glycogen to starch: understanding the biogenesis of the plant starch granule. Annu Rev Plant Biol, 2003,54:207-233.
[5] Zhang J J, Hu Y F, Zhou H, Huang Y B . Starch accumulation and activities of key enzymes involved in starch synthesis in the grains of maize inbred lines with different starch contents. J Plant Physiol Mol Biol, 2017,33:123-130.
[6] 张海艳, 董树亭, 高荣岐, 李玉全 . 玉米籽粒淀粉积累及相关酶活性分析. 中国农业科学, 2008,41:2174-2181.
Zhang H Y, Dong S T, Gao R Q, Li Y Q . Starch accumulation and enzymes activities associated with starch synthesis in maize kernels. Sci Agric Sin, 2008,41:2174-2181 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[7] 刘宗华, 张战辉 . 玉米籽粒灌浆速率研究进展. 东北农业大学学报, 2010,41(11):148-153.
Liu Z H, Zhang Z H . Research progress on grain filling rate in maize. J Northeast Agric Univ, 2010,41(11):148-153 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[8] 张智猛, 戴良香, 胡昌浩, 董树亭, 王空军, 宁堂原 . 玉米灌浆期水分差异供应对籽粒淀粉积累及其酶活性的影响. 植物生态学报, 2005,29:636-643.
Zhang Z M, Dai L X, Hu C H, Dong S T, Wang K J, Ning T Y . Effects of different water treatments on starch accumulation and related enzyme activity in grain of maize during grain-filling period. Acta Phytoecol Sin, 2005,29:636-643 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[9] 黄绍文, 孙桂芳, 金继运, 左余宝, 何萍 . 氮、磷和钾营养对优质玉米子粒产量和营养品质的影响. 植物营养与肥料学报, 2004,10:225-230.
Huang S W, Sun G F, Jin J Y, Zuo Y B, He P . Effect of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium application on grain yield and qualities of high-oil and high-starch corn. Plant Nutr Fert Sci, 2004,10:225-230 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[10] 王庆燕, 管大海, 潘海波, 李建民, 段留生, 张明才, 李召虎 . 油菜素内酯对春玉米灌浆期叶片光合功能与产量的调控效应. 作物学报, 2015,41:1557-1563.
Wang Q Y, Guan D H, Pan H B, Li J M, Duan L S, Zhang M C, Li Z H . Effect of brassinolide on leaf photosynthetic function and yield in spring maize filling stage. Acta Agron Sin, 2015,41:1557-1563 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[11] Ye D L, Zhang Y S, Mahdi M A, Duan L S, Zhang M C, Li Z H . Ethephon improved stalk strength associated with summer maize adaptations to environments differing in nitrogen availability in the North China Plain. J Agric Sci, 2016,154:960-977.
[12] Ai L, Li Z H, Xie Z X, Tian X L, Eneji A E, Duan L S . Coronatine alleviates polyethylene glycol-induced water stress in two rice ( Oryza sativa L.) cultivars. J Agron Crop Sci, 2008,194:360-368.
[13] Zhou Y Y, Zhang M C, Li J M, Li Z H, Tian X L, Duan L S . Phytotoxin coronatine enhances heat tolerance via maintaining photosynthetic performance in wheat based on Electrophoresis and TOF-MS analysis. Sci Rep, 2015,5:13870.
[14] Wang B M, Li Z H, Eneji E, Tian X L, Zhai Z X, Li J M, Duan L S . Effects of coronatine on growth, gas exchange traits, chlorophyll content, antioxidant enzymes and lipid peroxidation in maize ( Zea mays L.) seedlings under simulated drought stress. Plant Prod Sci, 2008,11:283-290.
[15] 王庆燕, 李建民, 段留生, 张明才, 李召虎 . 冠菌素对玉米苗期植株形态建成的调控效应. 农药学学报, 2015,17:401-408.
Wang Q Y, Li J M, Duan L S, Zhang M C, Li Z H . Regulation of bioregulator coronatine on the development of plant morphology in maize seedling. Chin J Pesticide Sci, 2015,17:401-408 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[16] 卫晓轶, 张明才, 李召虎, 段留生 . 冠菌素对玉米节间伸长和产量性状的影响. 科技导报, 2011,29(20):63-67.
doi: 10.3981/j.issn.1000-7857.2011.20.011
Wei X Y, Zhang M C, Li Z H, Duan L S . Effect of coronatine on internode elongation and yield characters of maize. Sci Technol Rev, 2011,29(20):63-67 (in Chinese with English abstract).
doi: 10.3981/j.issn.1000-7857.2011.20.011
[17] 朱庆森, 曹显祖, 骆亦其 . 水稻籽粒的生长分析. 作物学报, 1988,14:182-193.
Zhu Q S, Cao X Z, Luo Y Q . Growth analysis on the process of grain filling in rice. Acta Agron Sin, 1988,14:182-193 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[18] 何照范 . 粮油籽粒品质及其分析技术. 北京: 农业出版社, 1985. pp 290-294.
He Z F. Grain Quality and Its Analysis Technology. Beijing: Agriculture Press, 1985. pp 274-294(in Chinese).
[19] Douglas C D, Tsung M K, Frederick C F . Enzymes of sucrose and hexose metabolism in developing kernels of two inbreds of maize. Plant Physiol, 1988,86:1013-1019.
[20] Nakamura Y, Yuki K, Park S Y, Ohya T . Carbohydrate metabolism in the developing endosperm of rice grains. Plant Cell Physiol, 1989,30:833-839.
[21] 李太贵, 沈波, 陈能, 罗玉坤 . Q酶在水稻籽粒垩白形成中作用的研究. 作物学报, 1997,23:338-344.
Li T G, Shen B, Chen N, Luo Y K . Effect of Q-enzyme on the chalkiness formation of rice grain. Acta Agron Sin, 1997,23:338-344 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[22] 王月福, 于振文, 李尚霞, 余松烈 . 小麦籽粒灌浆过程中有关淀粉合成酶的活性及其效应. 作物学报, 2003,29:75-81.
Wang Y F, Yu Z W, Li S X, Yu S L . Activity of enzyme related to starch synthesis and their effect during the filling of winter wheat. Acta Agron Sin, 2003,29:75-81 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[23] 刘海英 . 喷施6-BA和PP333对小麦籽粒产量、淀粉形成与品质的调控效应研究. 河南农业大学博士学位论文, 河南郑州, 2006.
Liu H Y . Effects of 6-BA and PP333 Application on Grain Yield, Starch Synthesis and Its Quality of Winter Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). PhD Dissertation of Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, Henan, China, 2006 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[24] 吴成春 . 米粉稻稻米直链淀粉含量化学调控及其生理基础研究. 湖南农业大学硕士学位论文, 湖南长沙, 2007.
Wu C C . Chemical Regulation of Noodle Rice Grain Amylose Content and Its Physiological Foundations. MS Thesis of Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha, Hunan, China, 2007.
[25] 吴冬云 . 植物生长调节剂对水稻品质的影响及其机制. 华南师范大学硕士学位论文, 广东广州, 2003.
Wu D Y . Effect and Mechanism of Plant Growth Regulator on Rice Quality. MS Thesis of South China Normal University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China, 2003.
[26] 李秀枝, 黄智鸿, 袁进成, 史宝林, 陈建新, 魏东 . 植物生长调节剂对玉米籽粒灌浆特性及粒重的影响. 河北北方学院学报(自然科学版), 2015,31(2):41-44.
Li X Z, Huang Z H, Yuan J C, Shi B L, Chen J X, Wei D . Effects of different plant growth regulators on grain filling characteristics and grain weight in maize. J Hebei North Univ ( Nat Sci Edn), 2015,31(2):41-44 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[27] 李东, 郑殿峰, 冯乃杰, 赵晶晶, 张盼盼, 刘文彬, 张洪鹏, 徐延辉, 王畅 . 植物生长调节剂对玉米籽粒形态及鲜重产量的影响. 南方农业学报, 2016,47:1285-1289.
Li D, Zheng D F, Feng N J, Zhao J J, Zhang P P, Liu W B, Zhang H P, Xu Y H, Wang C . Effect of plant growth regulators on grain morphology and fresh grain yield. J Southern Agric, 2016,47:1285-1289 (in Chinese with English abstract).
[1] WANG Dan, ZHOU Bao-Yuan, MA Wei, GE Jun-Zhu, DING Zai-Song, LI Cong-Feng, ZHAO Ming. Characteristics of the annual distribution and utilization of climate resource for double maize cropping system in the middle reaches of Yangtze River [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(6): 1437-1450.
[2] WANG Wang-Nian, GE Jun-Zhu, YANG Hai-Chang, YIN Fa-Ting, HUANG Tai-Li, KUAI Jie, WANG Jing, WANG Bo, ZHOU Guang-Sheng, FU Ting-Dong. Adaptation of feed crops to saline-alkali soil stress and effect of improving saline-alkali soil [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(6): 1451-1462.
[3] YAN Jia-Qian, GU Yi-Biao, XUE Zhang-Yi, ZHOU Tian-Yang, GE Qian-Qian, ZHANG Hao, LIU Li-Jun, WANG Zhi-Qin, GU Jun-Fei, YANG Jian-Chang, ZHOU Zhen-Ling, XU Da-Yong. Different responses of rice cultivars to salt stress and the underlying mechanisms [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(6): 1463-1475.
[4] YANG Huan, ZHOU Ying, CHEN Ping, DU Qing, ZHENG Ben-Chuan, PU Tian, WEN Jing, YANG Wen-Yu, YONG Tai-Wen. Effects of nutrient uptake and utilization on yield of maize-legume strip intercropping system [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(6): 1476-1487.
[5] CHEN Jing, REN Bai-Zhao, ZHAO Bin, LIU Peng, ZHANG Ji-Wang. Regulation of leaf-spraying glycine betaine on yield formation and antioxidation of summer maize sowed in different dates [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(6): 1502-1515.
[6] LI Yi-Jun, LYU Hou-Quan. Effect of agricultural meteorological disasters on the production corn in the Northeast China [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(6): 1537-1545.
[7] SHAN Lu-Ying, LI Jun, LI Liang, ZHANG Li, WANG Hao-Qian, GAO Jia-Qi, WU Gang, WU Yu-Hua, ZHANG Xiu-Jie. Development of genetically modified maize (Zea mays L.) NK603 matrix reference materials [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(5): 1059-1070.
[8] SHI Yan-Yan, MA Zhi-Hua, WU Chun-Hua, ZHOU Yong-Jin, LI Rong. Effects of ridge tillage with film mulching in furrow on photosynthetic characteristics of potato and yield formation in dryland farming [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(5): 1288-1297.
[9] YAN Xiao-Yu, GUO Wen-Jun, QIN Du-Lin, WANG Shuang-Lei, NIE Jun-Jun, ZHAO Na, QI Jie, SONG Xian-Liang, MAO Li-Li, SUN Xue-Zhen. Effects of cotton stubble return and subsoiling on dry matter accumulation, nutrient uptake, and yield of cotton in coastal saline-alkali soil [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(5): 1235-1247.
[10] KE Jian, CHEN Ting-Ting, WU Zhou, ZHU Tie-Zhong, SUN Jie, HE Hai-Bing, YOU Cui-Cui, ZHU De-Quan, WU Li-Quan. Suitable varieties and high-yielding population characteristics of late season rice in the northern margin area of double-cropping rice along the Yangtze River [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(4): 1005-1016.
[11] XU Jing, GAO Jing-Yang, LI Cheng-Cheng, SONG Yun-Xia, DONG Chao-Pei, WANG Zhao, LI Yun-Meng, LUAN Yi-Fan, CHEN Jia-Fa, ZHOU Zi-Jian, WU Jian-Yu. Overexpression of ZmCIPKHT enhances heat tolerance in plant [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(4): 851-859.
[12] LIU Lei, ZHAN Wei-Min, DING Wu-Si, LIU Tong, CUI Lian-Hua, JIANG Liang-Liang, ZHANG Yan-Pei, YANG Jian-Ping. Genetic analysis and molecular characterization of dwarf mutant gad39 in maize [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(4): 886-895.
[13] LI Rui-Dong, YIN Yang-Yang, SONG Wen-Wen, WU Ting-Ting, SUN Shi, HAN Tian-Fu, XU Cai-Long, WU Cun-Xiang, HU Shui-Xiu. Effects of close planting densities on assimilate accumulation and yield of soybean with different plant branching types [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(4): 942-951.
[14] WANG Lyu, CUI Yue-Zhen, WU Yu-Hong, HAO Xing-Shun, ZHANG Chun-Hui, WANG Jun-Yi, LIU Yi-Xin, LI Xiao-Gang, QIN Yu-Hang. Effects of rice stalks mulching combined with green manure (Astragalus smicus L.) incorporated into soil and reducing nitrogen fertilizer rate on rice yield and soil fertility [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(4): 952-961.
[15] YAN Yu-Ting, SONG Qiu-Lai, YAN Chao, LIU Shuang, ZHANG Yu-Hui, TIAN Jing-Fen, DENG Yu-Xuan, MA Chun-Mei. Nitrogen accumulation and nitrogen substitution effect of maize under straw returning with continuous cropping [J]. Acta Agronomica Sinica, 2022, 48(4): 962-974.
Full text



No Suggested Reading articles found!