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Exogenous melatonin induces salt and drought stress tolerance in rice by promoting plant growth and defense system

Due to global climate change, crops are certainly confronted with a lot of abiotic and biotic stress factors during their growth that cause a serious threat to their development and overall productivity. Among different abiotic stresses, salt and drought are considered the most devastating stressors with serious impact on crop's yield stability. Here, the current study aimed to elucidate how melatonin works in regulating plant biomass,

Zakirullah KhanRahmatullah JanSaleem AsifMuhammad FarooqYoon-Hee JangEun-Gyeong KimNari KimKyung-Min Kim.

Sci Rep.; 2024 Jan 12; 14(1):1214. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-51369-0.

Abstract

Due to global climate change, crops are certainly confronted with a lot of abiotic and biotic stress factors during their growth that cause a serious threat to their development and overall productivity. Among different abiotic stresses, salt and drought are considered the most devastating stressors with serious impact on crop's yield stability. Here, the current study aimed to elucidate how melatonin works in regulating plant biomass, oxidative stress, antioxidant defense system, as well as the expression of genes related to salt and drought stress in rice plants. Eight groups of rice plants (3 replicates, 5 plants each) underwent varied treatments: control, melatonin, salt, drought, salt + drought, salt + melatonin, drought + melatonin, and salt + drought + melatonin. Melatonin (100 µM) was alternately applied a week before stress exposure; salt stress received 100 mM NaCl every 3 days for 3 weeks, and drought stress involved 10% PEG. Young leaves were randomly sampled from each group. The results showed that melatonin treatment markedly reduces salt and drought stress damage by promoting root, shoot length, fresh and dry weight, increasing chlorophyll contents, and inhibiting excessive production of oxidative stress markers. Salt and drought stress significantly decreased the water balance, and damaged cell membrane by reducing relative water contents and increasing electrolyte leakage. However, melatonin treated rice plants showed high relative water contents and low electrolyte leakage. Under salt and drought stress conditions, exogenous application of melatonin boosted the expression level of salt and drought stress responsive genes like OsSOS, OsNHX, OsHSF and OsDREB in rice plants. Taken together, our results reveal that melatonin treatment significantly increases salt and drought tolerance of rice plants, by increasing plant biomass, suppressing ROS accumulation, elevating antioxidants defense efficiency, and up-regulating the expression of salt and drought stress responsive genes.

 

See https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38216610/

 

Figure 5. Melatonin reduces salt and drougth stress via regulation of drought and salt stress responsive genes. (A,B) Show the relative expression of OsSOS and OsNHX salt stress responsive gene while, (C,D) show the relative expresssion of OsHSF and OsDREB drought responsive genes in rice plant respectively. Data were analyzed in three independent biological replicates (± standard deviation, SD), and the means were compared using Bonferroni post hoc tests. *Indicates p < 0.05 and **indicates p < 0.01.

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