Comparative 2D-DIGE analysis of salinity responsive microsomal proteins from leaves of salt-sensitive Arabidopsis thaliana and salt-tolerant Thellungiella salsuginea

Rosario Vera-Estrella, Bronwyn J Barkla, Omar Pantoja
Journal of Proteomics 2014 December 5, 111: 113-27

UNLABELLED: Halophytes have evolved unique molecular strategies to overcome high soil salinity but we still know very little about the main mechanisms that these plants use to complete their lifecycle under salinity stress. One useful approach to further our understanding in this area is to directly compare the response to salinity of two closely related species which show diverse levels of salt tolerance. Here we present a comparative proteomic study using DIGE of leaf microsomal proteins to identify salt-responsive membrane associated proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana (a glycophyte) and Thellungiella salsuginea (a halophyte). While a small number of distinct protein abundance changes were observed upon salt stress in both species, the most notable differences were observed between species and specifically, in untreated plants with a total of 36 proteins displaying significant abundance changes. Gene ontology (GO) term enrichment analysis showed that the majority of these proteins were distributed into two functional categories; transport (31%) and carbohydrate metabolism (17%). Results identify several novel salt responsive proteins in this system and support the theory that T. salsuginea shows a high degree of salt-tolerance because molecular mechanisms are primed to deal with the stress. This intrinsic ability to anticipate salinity stress distinguishes it from the glycophyte A. thaliana.

BIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: There is significant interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms that plants use to tolerate salinity as soil salinization is becoming an increasing concern for agriculture with high soil Na(+) levels leading to reduced yields and economic loss. Much of our knowledge on the molecular mechanisms employed by plants to combat salinity stress has come from work on salt-sensitive plants, but studies on naturally occurring highly salt-resistant plants, halophytes, and direct comparisons between closely related glycophytes and halophytes, could help to further our understanding of salinity tolerance mechanisms. In this study, employing two closely related species which differ markedly in their salt-tolerance, we carried out a quantitative proteomic approach using 2D-DIGE to identify salt-responsive proteins and compare and contrast the differences between the two plant species. Our work complements a previous study using iTRAQ technology (34) and highlights the benefits of using alternative technologies and approaches to gain a broader representation of the salt-responsive proteome in these species.

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