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Transcriptome Analysis Revealed the Potential Molecular Mechanism of Anthocyanidins` Improved Salt Tolerance in Maize Seedlings

Anthocyanin, a kind of flavonoid, plays a crucial role in plant resistance to abiotic stress. Salt stress is a kind of abiotic stress that can damage the growth and development of plant seedlings. However, limited research has been conducted on the involvement of maize seedlings in salt stress resistance via anthocyanin accumulation, and its potential molecular mechanism is still unclear. Therefore, it is of great significance for the normal growth and development of maize seedlings to explore the potential molecular mechanism of anthocyanin improving salt tolerance of seedlings via transcriptome analysis.

Jie WangZhipeng YuanDelin LiMinghao CaiZhi LiangQuanquan ChenXuemei DuJianhua WangRiliang GuLi Li

Plants (Basel); 2023 Jul 27; 12(15):2793. doi: 10.3390/plants12152793.

Abstract

Anthocyanin, a kind of flavonoid, plays a crucial role in plant resistance to abiotic stress. Salt stress is a kind of abiotic stress that can damage the growth and development of plant seedlings. However, limited research has been conducted on the involvement of maize seedlings in salt stress resistance via anthocyanin accumulation, and its potential molecular mechanism is still unclear. Therefore, it is of great significance for the normal growth and development of maize seedlings to explore the potential molecular mechanism of anthocyanin improving salt tolerance of seedlings via transcriptome analysis. In this study, we identified two W22 inbred lines (tolerant line pur-W22 and sensitive line bro-W22) exhibiting differential tolerance to salt stress during seedling growth and development but showing no significant differences in seedling characteristics under non-treatment conditions. In order to identify the specific genes involved in seedlings' salt stress response, we generated two recombinant inbred lines (RILpur-W22 and RILbro-W22) by crossing pur-W22 and bro-W22, and then performed transcriptome analysis on seedlings grown under both non-treatment and salt treatment conditions. A total of 6100 and 5710 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified in RILpur-W22 and RILbro-W22 seedlings, respectively, under salt-stressed conditions when compared to the non-treated groups. Among these DEGs, 3160 were identified as being present in both RILpur-W22 and RILbro-W22, and these served as commonly stressed EDGs that were mainly enriched in the redox process, the monomer metabolic process, catalytic activity, the plasma membrane, and metabolic process regulation. Furthermore, we detected 1728 specific DEGs in the salt-tolerant RILpur-W22 line that were not detected in the salt-sensitive RILbro-W22 line, of which 887 were upregulated and 841 were downregulated. These DEGs are primarily associated with redox processes, biological regulation, and the plasma membrane. Notably, the anthocyanin synthesis related genes in RILpur-W22 were strongly induced under salt treatment conditions, which was consistented with the salt tolerance phenotype of its seedlings. In summary, the results of the transcriptome analysis not only expanded our understanding of the complex molecular mechanism of anthocyanin in improving the salt tolerance of maize seedlings, but also, the DEGs specifically expressed in the salt-tolerant line (RILpur-W22) provided candidate genes for further genetic analysis.

 

See https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37570948/

 

Figure 1: Seeds and seedling characteristics of RILpur–w22 and RILbro–w22. (ae) Seed phenotypes of two RILs and their (a), seed lengths (b), seed widths (c), seed thicknesses (d), and 100–seed weights (e). (fh) Seedling phenotypes (f), shoot lengths (g), and root lengths (h) of two RILs grown for 14 days under non–treated and salt–treated (100 mM NaCl solution) conditions. Bar = 1 cm; black dots, squares and triangles represent individual values for different samples; p values calculated by one–way ANOVA; p < 0.01 indicates that the difference is extremely significant; ns represents no difference.

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