Effects of salt stress on the expression of antioxidant genes and proteins in the model legume Lotus japonicus
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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- • Salt stress negatively affects many physiological processes in plants. Some of these effects may involve the oxidative damage of cellular components, which can be promoted by reactive oxygen species and prevented by antioxidants.
- • The protective role of antioxidants was investigated in Lotus japonicus exposed to two salinization protocols: S1 (150 mM NaCl for 7 d) and S2 (50, 100 and 150 mM NaCl, each concentration for 6 d). Several markers of salt stress were measured and the expression of antioxidant genes was analyzed using quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and, in some cases, immunoblots and enzyme activity assays.
- • Leaves of S1 plants suffered from mild osmotic stress, accumulated proline but no Na+, and showed induction of many superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase genes. Leaves of S2 plants showed increases in Na+ and Ca2+, decreases in K+, and accumulation of proline and malondialdehyde. In leaves and roots of S1 and S2 plants, the mRNA, protein and activity levels of the ascorbate-glutathione enzymes remained constant, with a few exceptions. Notably, there was consistent up-regulation of the gene encoding cytosolic dehydroascorbate reductase, and this was possibly related to its role in ascorbate recycling in the apoplast.
- • The overall results indicate that L. japonicus is more tolerant to salt stress than other legumes, which can be attributed to the capacity of the plant to prevent Na+ reaching the shoot and to activate antioxidant defenses.