Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The influence of genes regulating transmembrane transport of Na+ on the salt resistance of Aeluropus lagopoides

Muhammad Zaheer Ahmed A B , Takayoshi Shimazaki B , Salman Gulzar A , Akira Kikuchi B , Bilquees Gul A , M. Ajmal Khan A C F , Hans–W. Koyro D , Bernhard Huchzermeyer E and Kazuo N. Watanabe B

A Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilisation (ISHU), University of Karachi, Karachi-75270, Pakistan.

B Gene Research Center, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba City, Ibaraki, 305-8572, Japan.

C Qatar Shell Professorial Chair of Sustainable Development, Department of International Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, PO Box 2713, Doha, Qatar.

D Institute of Plant Ecology, Justus-Liebig University Gießen, D-35392 Gießen, Germany.

E Institute of Botany, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Herrenhäuser Str. 2, 30419 Hannover, Germany.

F Corresponding author. Email: ajmal.khan@qu.edu.qa

This paper originates from a presentation at the COST WG2 MeetingPutting halophytes to workgenetics, biochemistry and physiologyHannover, Germany, 2831 August 2012.

Functional Plant Biology 40(9) 860-871 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP12346
Submitted: 18 November 2012  Accepted: 24 January 2013   Published: 4 March 2013

Abstract

Plantlets of Aeluropus lagopoides (Linn.) Trin. Ex Thw. were grown at different NaCl concentrations (26, 167, 373 and 747 mM) for 3, 7 and 15 days; their growth, osmotic adjustment, gas exchange, ion compartmentalisation and expression of various genes related to Na+ flux was studied. Plantlets showed optimal growth in non-saline (control; 26 mM NaCl) solutions, whereas CO2/H2O gas exchange, leaf water concentration and water use efficiency decreased under all salinity treatments, accompanied by increased leaf senescence, root ash, sodium content and leaf osmolality. A decrease in malondialdehyde (MDA) content with time was correlated with Na+ accumulation in the leaf apoplast and a concomitant increase in Na+ secretion rate. A. lagopoides accumulated a higher concentration of Na+ in root than in leaf vacuoles, corresponding with higher expression of V-NHX and lower expression of PM-NHX in root than leaf tissue. It appears that V-ATPase plays a vital role during Na+ transport by producing an electromotive force, driving ion transport. Leaf calcium increased with increasing salinity, with more rapid accumulation at high salinity than at low salinity, indicating a possible involvement of Ca2+ in maintaining K+ : Na+ ratio. Our results suggest that A. lagopoides successfully compartmentalised Na+ at salinities up to 373 mM NaCl by upregulating the gene expression of membrane linked transport proteins (V-NHX and PM-NHX). At higher salinity (747 mM NaCl), a reduction in the expression of V-NHX and PM-NHX in leaves without any change in the rate of salt secretion, is a possible cause of the toxicity of NaCl.

Additional keywords: gene expression, growth, ion regulation, Na+ sequestration, photosynthesis, salt stress.


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