Early effects of salt stress on the physiological and oxidative status of Cakile maritima (halophyte) and Arabidopsis thaliana (glycophyte)

Hasna Ellouzi, Karim Ben Hamed, Jana Cela, Sergi Munné-Bosch, Chedly Abdelly
Physiologia Plantarum 2011, 142 (2): 128-43
Early changes in physiological and oxidative status induced by salt stress were monitored in two Brassicaceae plants differing in their tolerance to salinity, Cakile maritima (halophyte) and Arabidopsis thaliana (glycophyte). Growth response and antioxidant defense of C. maritima under 400 mM NaCl were compared with those of A. thaliana exposed to 100 mM NaCl. Salinity induced early growth reduction that is less pronounced in C. maritima than in A. thaliana. Maximum hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂) level occurred in the leaves of both species 4 h after the onset of salt treatment. A rapid decline in H₂O₂ concentration was observed thereafter in C. maritima, whereas it remained high in A. thaliana. Correlatively, superoxide dismutase, catalase and peroxidase activities increased at 4 h of treatment in C. maritima and decreased thereafter. However, the activity of these enzymes remained higher in treated plants than that in controls, regardless of the duration of treatment, in A. thaliana. The concentrations of malondialdehyde (MDA) reached maximum values at 24 h of salt stress in both species. Again, MDA levels decreased later in C. maritima, but remained high in A. thaliana. The contents of α-tocopherol remained constant during salt stress in C. maritima and decreased during the first 24 h of salt stress and then remained low in A. thaliana. The results clearly showed that C. maritima, in contrast to A. thaliana, can rapidly evolve physiological and antioxidant mechanisms to adapt to salt and manage the oxidative stress. This may explain, at least partially, the difference in salt tolerance between halophytes and glycophytes.

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