Insight into the salt tolerance factors of a wild halophytic rice, Porteresia coarctata: a physiological and proteomic approach

Sonali Sengupta, Arun Lahiri Majumder
Planta 2009, 229 (4): 911-29
Salinity poses a serious threat to yield performance of cultivated rice in South Asian countries. To understand the mechanism of salt-tolerance of the wild halophytic rice, Porteresia coarctata in contrast to the salt-sensitive domesticated rice Oryza sativa, we have compared P. coarctata with the domesticated O. sativa rice varieties under salinity stress with respect to several physiological parameters and changes in leaf protein expression. P. coarctata showed a better growth performance and biomass under salinity stress. Relative water content was conserved in Porteresia during stress and sodium ion accumulation in leaves was comparatively lesser. Scanning electron microscopy revealed presence of two types of salt hairs on two leaf surfaces, each showing a different behaviour under stress. High salt stress for prolonged period also revealed accumulation of extruded NaCl crystals on leaf surface. Changes induced in leaf proteins were studied by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and subsequent quantitative image analysis. Out of more than 700 protein spots reproducibly detected and analyzed, 60% spots showed significant changes under salinity. Many proteins showed steady patterns of up- or downregulation in response to salinity stress. Twenty protein spots were analyzed by MALDI-TOF, leading to identification of 16 proteins involved in osmolyte synthesis, photosystem functioning, RubisCO activation, cell wall synthesis and chaperone functions. We hypothesize that some of these proteins confer a physiological advantage on Porteresia under salinity, and suggest a pattern of salt tolerance strategies operative in salt-marsh grasses. In addition, such proteins may turn out to be potential targets for recombinant cloning and introgression in salt-sensitive plants.

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