GABA counteracts wide range of stresses through regulation of GABA shunt pathway in plants. Although, GABA assisted tolerance against As toxicity in plants is still unexplored. We have examined GABA induced tolerance in rice seedlings with two exposure periods of GABA i.e., short term and long term. Results showed that accumulation of GABA reduced the expressions of Lsi-1 and Lsi-2 transporter genes, which ultimately decreased the accumulation of As in rice seedlings. The accumulation of GABA also modulated the gene expression of GABA shunt pathway and activity of antioxidant enzymes, which strongly induced the tolerance in plants. Antioxidant enzymes such as CAT, POD, GPX and SOD showed maximum alteration in activity with GABA accretion. In both exposure periods, long term accumulation of GABA was highly efficient to provide tolerance to plants against As(III), while higher level of GABA at short term was toxic. Tolerance responses of GABA towards As(III) was reflected by minimal changes in various physiological (WUE, A, gs, PhiPS2, qp, NPQ, ETR and Trmmol) and growth parameters with concomitant accumulation. Oxidative stress marker such as TBARS and H2O2 contents were reduced with GABA accumulation. These results suggested that GABA sturdily inhibits As accumulation and provides tolerance towards As(III).
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