Salinity is one of the major abiotic stresses affecting plant productivity but surprisingly, a thorough understanding of the salt-responsive networks responsible for sustaining growth and maintaining crop yield remains a significant challenge. Rice suspension culture cells (SCCs), a single cell type, were evaluated as a model system as they provide a ready source of a homogenous cell type and avoid the complications of multicellular tissue types in planta. A combination of growth performance, and transcriptional analyses using known salt-induced genes was performed on control and 100 mM NaCl cultured cells to validate the biological system. Protein profiling was conducted using both DIGE- and iTRAQ-based proteomics approaches. In total, 106 proteins were identified in DIGE experiments and 521 proteins in iTRAQ experiments with 58 proteins common to both approaches. Metabolomic analysis provided insights into both developmental changes and salt-induced changes of rice SCCs at the metabolite level; 134 known metabolites were identified, including 30 amines and amides, 40 organic acids, 40 sugars, sugar acids and sugar alcohols, 21 fatty acids and sterols, and 3 miscellaneous compounds. Our results from proteomic and metabolomic studies indicate that the salt-responsive networks of rice SCCs are extremely complex and share some similarities with thee cellular responses observed in planta. For instance, carbohydrate and energy metabolism pathways, redox signaling pathways, auxin/indole-3-acetic acid pathways and biosynthesis pathways for osmoprotectants are all salt responsive in SCCs enabling cells to maintain cellular function under stress condition. These data are discussed in the context of our understanding of in planta salt-responses.
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