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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 32(3)

Nitrate reductase in durum wheat seedlings as affected by nitrate nutrition and salinity

Petronia Carillo A B, Gabriella Mastrolonardo A, Francesco Nacca A, Amodio Fuggi A

A Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita, Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli, Via Vivaldi 43, 81100 Caserta, Italy.
B Corresponding author. Email: petronia.carillo@unina2.it
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The combined effects of nitrate (0, 0.1, 1, 10 mm) and salt (0, 100 mm NaCl) on nitrogen metabolism in durum wheat seedlings were investigated by analysis of nitrate reductase (NR) expression and activity, and metabolite content. High salinity (100 mm NaCl) reduced shoot growth more than root growth. The effect was independent of nitrate concentration. NR mRNA was present at a low level in both leaves and roots of plants grown in a nitrogen-free medium. NaCl increased NR mRNA at low nitrate, suggesting that chloride can mimic nitrate as a signal molecule to induce transcription in both roots and leaves. However, the level of NR protein remained low in salt-stressed plants, indicating an inhibitory effect of salt on translation of NR mRNA or an increase in protein degradation. The lower activity of nitrate reductase in leaves of high-nitrate treated plants under salinity suggested a restriction of NO3– transport to the shoot under salinity. Salt treatment promoted photorespiration, inhibiting carbohydrate accumulation in plants grown on low nitrate media. Under salinity free amino acids, in particular proline and asparagine, and glycine betaine could function as osmolytes to balance water potential within the cell, especially when nitrogen availability exceeded the need for growth.

Keywords: compatible solutes, glycine betaine, nitrogen metabolism, nitrate reductase, salt stress, Triticum durum.

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