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Acta Agronomica Sinica ›› 2024, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (3): 709-720.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1006.2024.34088


Effects of low temperature on the expression of insecticidal protein in Bt cotton fibers and its physiological mechanism

DAI Yu-Yang(), YUE Ye, LIU Zhen-Yu, HE Run, LIU Yu-Ting, ZHANG Xiang, CHEN De-Hua, CHEN Yuan()   

  1. Yangzhou University / Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology of Jiangsu Province, Yangzhou 225009, Jiangsu, China
  • Received:2023-05-22 Accepted:2023-10-23 Online:2024-03-12 Published:2023-11-10
  • Contact: *E-mail: cheny@yzu.edu.cn
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31906462);Natural Science Research Project of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions(18KJB210013)


The study in pot experiments using conventional cultivar Sikang 1 (SK1) and hybrid cultivar Sikang 3 (SK3) as the experimental materials conducted the changes of Bt insecticidal protein content and nitrogen metabolism related physiological characteristics in Bt cotton fibers at peak boll stage under different low temperature and processing duration. The content of insecticidal protein in fibers decreased with the decrease of temperature, and the duration of low temperature treatment significantly affects the content of insecticidal protein compared with the control, the greater decrease of insecticidal protein content was observed with the extension of low temperature stress time. The soluble protein content, GOT activity, and GPT activity had a downward trend, while the free amino acid content, peptidase activity, and protease activity had an upward trend. After low temperature treatment for 48 hours, there was a significant correlation between those nitrogen metabolism related parameters with insecticidal protein content. Therefore, low temperature stress also decreased protein synthesis, enhanced protein decomposition, resulting in a decrease in soluble protein content, an increase in free amino acid content, and thus a reduced Bt insecticidal protein content, which significantly affected by the duration of low temperature stress.

Key words: Bt cotton, low temperature, insecticidal protein, nitrogen metabolism

Table 1

Lowest and highest temperatures of each treatment within 48 hours in the artificial climate chamber (℃)"

2020 2021
Minimum temperature
Maximum temperature
Minimum temperature
Maximum temperature
27℃ 26.8 27.3 26.8 27.2
20℃ 19.7 20.2
19℃ 18.9 19.2 18.8 19.3
18℃ 17.8 18.2 17.7 18.1
17℃ 16.8 17.2 16.8 17.3
16℃ 15.8 16.2 15.8 16.3

Fig. 1

Effect of low temperature stress on insecticidal protein content in fibers SK1: Sikang 1; SK3: Sikang 3. Different lowercase letters represent the same variety at the different treatment at the 0.05 probability level."

Fig. 2

Effect of low temperature stress on soluble protein content of fibers SK1: Sikang 1; SK3: Sikang 3. Different lowercase letters represent the same variety at the different treatment at the 0.05 probability level."

Fig. 3

Effect of low temperature stress on free amino acid content in fibers SK1: Sikang 1; SK3: Sikang 3. Different lowercase letters represent the same variety at the different treatment at the 0.05 probability level."

Fig. 4

Effect of low temperature stress on GOT activity in fibers SK1: Sikang 1; SK3: Sikang 3. GOT: Glutamic Oxaloacetate Transaminase. Different lowercase letters represent the same variety at the different treatment at the 0.05 probability level."

Fig. 5

Effect of low temperature stress on GPT activity in fibers SK1: Sikang 1; SK3: Sikang 3. GPT: Glutamic Pyruvate Transaminase. Different lowercase letters represent the same variety at the different treatment at the 0.05 probability level."

Fig. 6

Effect of low temperature stress on protease activity in fibers SK1: Sikang 1; SK3: Sikang 3. Different lowercase letters represent the same variety at the different treatment at the 0.05 probability level."

Fig. 7

Effect of low temperature stress on peptidase activity in fibers SK1: Sikang 1; SK3: Sikang 3. Different lowercase letters represent the same variety at the different treatment at the 0.05 probability level."

Table 2

Correlation analysis of insecticidal protein content with the content of key substances in nitrogen metabolism and the activity of key enzymes"

Soluble protein
Free amino acid
2020 SK1 12 h 0.7773 -0.7284 0.8497* 0.9266** -0.9293** -0.9238**
24 h 0.9740** -0.9858** 0.9853** 0.9959** -0.9516** -0.9961**
48 h 0.9787** -0.9946** 0.9935** 0.9832** -0.9922** -0.9887**
SK3 12 h 0.9197** -0.9704** 0.8672* 0.9717** -0.8935* -0.9409**
24 h 0.8816* -0.9841** 0.9961** 0.9926** -0.9747** -0.9796**
48 h 0.9268** -0.9657** 0.9727** 0.9738** -0.9610** -0.9459**
2021 SK1 12 h 0.9098* -0.8287 0.8903* 0.7419 -0.8823* -0.7512
24 h 0.9414* -0.9820** 0.9849** 0.9952** -0.9957** -0.9665**
48 h 0.9798** -0.9579* 0.9899** 0.9464* -0.9907** -0.9175*
SK3 12 h 0.6864 -0.9926** 0.9451* 0.9509* -0.9403* -0.9724**
24 h 0.9664** -0.9573* 0.9791** 0.9661** -0.9824** -0.9990**
48 h 0.9867** -0.9941** 0.9626** 0.9865** -0.9542* -0.9937**

Table 3

Results of stepwise regression analysis"

Dependent variable
Significant level
The order of stepwise
Regression equation
Bt insecticidal protein content
0.05 X3, X6 Y = 3.865-0.175X3-0.232X6
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