Effects of salt stress on the structure and function of the photosynthetic apparatus in Cucumis sativus and its protection by exogenous putrescine

Sheng Shu, Shi-Rong Guo, Jin Sun, Ling-Yun Yuan
Physiologia Plantarum 2012, 146 (3): 285-96
With the objective to clarify the physiological significance of polyamines (PAs) in the photosynthetic apparatus, the present study investigated the effects of salt stress with and without foliar application of putrescine (Put) on the structure and function of the photosynthetic apparatus in cucumber. Salt stress at 75 mM NaCl for 7 days resulted in a severe reduction of photosynthesis. The fast chlorophyll afluorescence transient analysis showed that salt stress inhibited the maximum quantum yield of PSII photochemistry (F(v)/F(m)), mainly due to damage at the receptor side of PSII. In addition, salt stress decreased the density of active reaction centers and the structure performance. The microscopic analysis revealed that salt stress-induced destruction of the chloroplast envelope and increased the number of plastoglobuli along with aberrations in thylakoid membranes. Besides, salt stress caused a decrease in the content of endogenous PAs, conjugated and bound forms of spermidine and spermine in particular, in thylakoid membranes. However, applications of 8 mM Put alleviated the salt stress-mediated decrease in net photosynthetic rates (Pn) and actual efficiency of PSII(Φ(PSII)). Put increased PAs in thylakoid membranes and overcame the damaging effects of salt stress on the structure and function of the photosynthetic apparatus in salt-stressed plant leaves. Put application to control plants neither increased PAs in thylakoid membranes nor affected photosynthesis. These results indicate that PAs in chloroplasts play crucial roles in protecting the thylakoid membranes against the deleterious influences of salt stress. In addition, the present results point to the probability that the salt-induced dysfunction of photosynthesis is largely attributable to the loss of PAs in the photosynthetic apparatus.

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