Soybean seeds have high lipid and protein contents. Adverse environmental conditions restrict seed yield and quality. We examined the changes in storage compounds caused by drought stress from R5 stage (beginning seed growth stage). Under drought stress, contents of lipid in seed were remarkably low compared to control at 24 and 29 days after treatment. Protein contents in seed were immediately decreased after water deficit treatment. On the other hand, soluble sugar contents in seed were increased by drought stress. Drought stress decreased the expression of genes involved in lipid biosynthesis (PK, BCCP2, and KAS1) and increased the genes expression involved in lipid degradation (ACX2, MS, and PEPCK). These results suggest that the increasing of sugar content in seed under drought stress was complemented by degradation of lipids. The expressions of genes encoding storage protein (Gy4 and β-conglycinin) were also decreased by drought stress. This study showed how drought stress during seed filling affects seed quality, especially lipid and protein contents, that may facilitate further research on seed storage compounds metabolism under environmental stresses.
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