Systems biology reveals key tissue-specific metabolic and transcriptional signatures involved in the response of Medicago truncatula plant genotypes to salt stress

Panagiota Filippou, Xavier Zarza, Chrystalla Antoniou, Toshihiro Obata, Carlos A. Villarroel, Ioannis Ganopoulos, Vaggelis Harokopos, Gholamreza Gohari, Vassilis Aidinis, Panagiotis Madesis, Anastasis Christou, Alisdair R. Fernie, Antonio F. Tiburcio, Vasileios Fotopoulos

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Abstract

Salt stress is an important factor limiting plant productivity by affecting plant physiology and metabolism. To explore salt tolerance adaptive mechanisms in the model legume Medicago truncatula, we used three genotypes with differential salt-sensitivity: TN6.18 (highly sensitive), Jemalong A17 (moderately sensitive), and TN1.11 (tolerant). Cellular damage was monitored in roots and leaves 48 h after 200 mM NaCl treatment by measuring lipid peroxidation, nitric oxide, and hydrogen peroxide contents, further supported by leaf stomatal conductance and chlorophyll readings. The salt-tolerant genotype TN1.11 displayed the lowest level of oxidative damage, in contrast to the salt sensitive TN6.18, which showed the highest responses. Metabolite profiling was employed to explore the differential genotype-related responses to stress at the molecular level. The metabolic data in the salt tolerant TN1.11 roots revealed an accumulation of metabolites related to the raffinose pathway. To further investigate the sensitivity to salinity, global transcriptomic profiling using microarray analysis was carried out on the salt-stressed sensitive genotypes. In TN6.18, the transcriptomic analysis identified a lower expression of many genes related to stress signalling, not previously linked to salinity, and corresponding to the TIR-NBS-LRR gene class. Overall, this global approach contributes to gaining significant new insights into the complexity of stress adaptive mechanisms and to the identification of potential targets for crop improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2133-2147
Number of pages15
JournalComputational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Prof. Laurent Gentzbittel (ENSAT-Toulouse) for the kind provision of seeds of the Medicago genotypes. This work was supported by CUT Internal Start-up grant EX-32 to V.F. P.F. and V.F. planned and designed the research; P.F. X.Z. C.A. T.O. A.C. and V.H. performed experiments; X.Z. T.O. C.A.V. G.G. and I.G. analyzed and interpreted the data; V.A. P.M. A.R.F. and A.F.T. were involved in discussions throughout the project; X.Z. P.F. and V.F. wrote the manuscript with contributions by all authors; V.F. supervised the project.

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Prof. Laurent Gentzbittel (ENSAT-Toulouse) for the kind provision of seeds of the Medicago genotypes. This work was supported by CUT Internal Start-up grant EX-32 to V.F.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)

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