Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is known to help the host plant to overcome environmental stresses as drought by a combination of multiple mechanisms including enhancing of root water uptake capacity. On the other hand, Nitric oxide (NO) is involved in regulating the response of plants to environmental stresses and colonization process of AM fungi. The objective of this research was to study how AM and non-AM lettuce plants responded to a NO donor (sodium nitroprusside; SNP) or to a NO synthesis inhibitor (Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride; L-NAME) under well watered and drought conditions. Most remarkable results were that L-NAME increased the percentage of AM colonized roots under both water regimes and AM plants modified the shoot:root ratio by both chemicals under well watered conditions. Also, the deleterious effects of SNP treatment were partially prevented by AM symbiosis. Moreover, NO could be involved in the diminution of leaf water content under drought conditions, and SNP treatment seems to favor apoplastic water path inside roots. Therefore, different outcomes of relative water content, stomatal conductance and root hydraulic conductivity observed between AM and non-AM plants could be mediated by NO.
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