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Vegetative and reproductive growth of salt-stressed chickpea are carbon-limited: sucrose infusion at the reproductive stage improves salt tolerance.
ABSTRACT: Reproductive processes of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) are particularly sensitive to salinity. We tested whether limited photoassimilate availability contributes to reproductive failure in salt-stressed chickpea. Rupali, a salt-sensitive genotype, was grown in aerated nutrient solution, either with non-saline (control) or 30mM NaCl treatment. At flowering, stems were either infused with sucrose solution (0.44M), water only or maintained without any infusion, for 75 d. The sucrose and water infusion treatments of non-saline plants had no effect on growth or yield, but photosynthesis declined in response to sucrose infusion. Salt stress reduced photosynthesis, decreased tissue sugars by 22-47%, and vegetative and reproductive growth were severely impaired. Sucrose infusion of salt-treated plants increased total sugars in stems, leaves and developing pods, to levels similar to those of non-saline plants. In salt-stressed plants, sucrose infusion increased dry mass (2.6-fold), pod numbers (3.8-fold), seed numbers (6.5-fold) and seed yield (10.4-fold), yet vegetative growth and reproductive failure were not rescued completely by sucrose infusion. Sucrose infusion partly rescued reproductive failure in chickpea by increasing vegetative growth enabling more flower production and by providing sucrose for pod and seed growth. We conclude that insufficient assimilate availability limits yield in salt-stressed chickpea.
Project description:Drought, particularly terminal drought, reduces the yield of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). Terminal drought tolerance and water use patterns were evaluated under controlled conditions in 10 genotypes of desi chickpea. Withholding water from early podding reduced vegetative growth, reproductive growth, seed yield, and water use efficiency for seed yield in all genotypes. The genotype Neelam, which produced the highest seed yield when water was withheld, used the least water when well-watered; however, its aboveground biomass at maturity did not differ significantly from six of the nine other genotypes. Indeed, the water-stressed Neelam had the lowest daily transpiration rate during the early stages of water stress and the highest during the later stages, thereby maintaining the highest soil water content in the first 16 days after water was withheld, which enabled higher pod production, lower pod abortion, and better seed filling. Genotypes differed in the threshold value of the fraction of transpirable soil water when flowering and seed set ceased in the water-stress treatment. We conclude that a conservative water use strategy benefits seed yield of chickpea exposed to water shortage during early podding.
Project description:Chickpea is one of the most economically important food legumes, and a significant source of proteins. It is cultivated in more than 50 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, and South America. Chickpea production is limited by various abiotic stresses (cold, heat, drought, salt, etc.). Being a winter-season crop in northern south Asia and some parts of the Australia, chickpea faces low-temperature stress (0-15°C) during the reproductive stage that causes substantial loss of flowers, and thus pods, to inhibit its yield potential by 30-40%. The winter-sown chickpea in the Mediterranean, however, faces cold stress at vegetative stage. In late-sown environments, chickpea faces high-temperature stress during reproductive and pod filling stages, causing considerable yield losses. Both the low and the high temperatures reduce pollen viability, pollen germination on the stigma, and pollen tube growth resulting in poor pod set. Chickpea also experiences drought stress at various growth stages; terminal drought, along with heat stress at flowering and seed filling can reduce yields by 40-45%. In southern Australia and northern regions of south Asia, lack of chilling tolerance in cultivars delays flowering and pod set, and the crop is usually exposed to terminal drought. The incidences of temperature extremes (cold and heat) as well as inconsistent rainfall patterns are expected to increase in near future owing to climate change thereby necessitating the development of stress-tolerant and climate-resilient chickpea cultivars having region specific traits, which perform well under drought, heat, and/or low-temperature stress. Different approaches, such as genetic variability, genomic selection, molecular markers involving quantitative trait loci (QTLs), whole genome sequencing, and transcriptomics analysis have been exploited to improve chickpea production in extreme environments. Biotechnological tools have broadened our understanding of genetic basis as well as plants' responses to abiotic stresses in chickpea, and have opened opportunities to develop stress tolerant chickpea.
Project description:Salinity causes disturbance in symbiotic performance of plants, and increases susceptibility of plants to soil-borne pathogens. Endophytic bacteria are an essential determinant of cross-tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses in plants. The aim of this study was to isolate non-rhizobial endophytic bacteria from the root nodules of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), and to assess their ability to improve plant growth and symbiotic performance, and to control root rot in chickpea under saline soil conditions. A total of 40 bacterial isolates from internal root tissues of chickpea grown in salinated soil were isolated. Four bacterial isolates, namely Bacillus cereus NUU1, Achromobacter xylosoxidans NUU2, Bacillus thuringiensis NUU3, and Bacillus subtilis NUU4 colonizing root tissue demonstrated plant beneficial traits and/or antagonistic activity against F. solani and thus were characterized in more detail. The strain B. subtilis NUU4 proved significant plant growth promotion capabilities, improved symbiotic performance of host plant with rhizobia, and promoted yield under saline soil as compared to untreated control plants under field conditions. A combined inoculation of chickpea with M. ciceri IC53 and B. subtilis NUU4 decreased H2O2 concentrations and increased proline contents compared to the un-inoculated plants indicating an alleviation of adverse effects of salt stress. Furthermore, the bacterial isolate was capable to reduce the infection rate of root rot in chickpea caused by F. solani. This is the first report of F. solani causing root rot of chickpea in a salinated soil of Uzbekistan. Our findings demonstrated that the endophytic B. subtilis strain NUU4 provides high potentials as a stimulator for plant growth and as biological control agent of chickpea root rot under saline soil conditions. These multiple relationships could provide promising practical approaches to increase the productivity of legumes under salt stress.
Project description:Rising global temperatures are proving to be detrimental for the agriculture. Hence, strategies are needed to induce thermotolerance in food crops to sustain the food production. GABA (?-aminobutyric acid), a non-protein amino acid, can partially protect plants from high-temperature stress. This study hypothesises that declining GABA concentrations in the cells of heat-stressed mungbean plants increases the heat-sensitivity of reproductive function. Mungbean plants were grown in a natural, outdoor environment (29.3/16.1?±?1?°C as mean day/night temperature, 1350-1550 µmol m-2 s-1 light intensity, 60-65% as mean relative humidity) until the start of the reproductive stage. Subsequently, two temperature treatments were imposed in a controlled environment-control (35/23?°C) and heat stress (45/28?°C)-at about 800 µmol m-2 s-1 light intensity and 65-70% as mean relative humidity, until pod maturity. In heat-stressed (HS) plants, endogenous GABA concentrations in leaf and anther samples had declined by 49 and 60%, respectively, and to a much lesser degree in the plants, exogenously supplemented with 1?mM GABA. The reproductive function of GABA-treated heat-stressed plants improved significantly in terms of pollen germination, pollen viability, stigma receptivity and ovule viability, compared to untreated HS controls. In addition, GABA-treated heat-stressed plants had less damage to membranes, photosynthetic machinery (chlorophyll concentration, chlorophyll fluorescence, RuBisCO activity were functionally normal) and carbon assimilation (sucrose synthesis and its utilisation) than the untreated HS controls. Leaf water status improved significantly with GABA application, including enhanced accumulation of osmolytes such as proline and trehalose due to increase in the activities of their biosynthetic enzymes. GABA-treated heat-stressed plants produced more pods (28%) and seed weight (27%) plant-1 than the untreated controls. This study is the first to report the involvement of GABA in protecting reproductive function in mungbean under heat stress, as a result of improved leaf turgor, carbon fixation and assimilation processes, through the augmentation of several enzymes related to these physiological processes.
Project description:Fructans play vital roles in abiotic stress tolerance in plants. In this study, we isolated the sucrose:6-fructosyltransferase gene, which is involved in the synthesis of fructans, from Leymus mollis by rapid amplification of cDNA ends. The Lm-6-SFT gene was introduced into Arabidopsis thaliana cv. Columbia by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. The transgenic plants were evaluated under salt stress conditions. The results showed that the expression of Lm-6-SFT was significantly induced by light, abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA), and salt treatment in L. mollis plants. Overexpression of Lm-6-SFT in Arabidopsis promoted seed germination and primary root growth during the early vegetative growth stage under salt stress. We also found that the transgenic plants expressing Lm-6-SFT had increased proline and fructan levels. β-Glucuronidase staining and promoter analysis indicated that the promoter of Lm-6-SFT was regulated by light, ABA, and salt stress. Quantitative PCR suggested that overexpression of Lm-6-SFT could improve salt tolerance by interacting with the expression of some salt stress tolerance genes. Thus, we demonstrated that the Lm-6-SFT gene is a candidate gene that potentially confers salt stress tolerance to plants. Our study will aid the elucidation of the regulatory mechanism of 6-SFT genes in herb plants.
Project description:Halophytes are adapted to saline environments and demonstrate optimal reproductive growth under high salinity. To gain insight into the salt tolerance mechanism and effects of salinity in the halophyte Suaeda salsa, the number of flowers and seeds, seed size, anther development, ion content, and flower transcript profiles, as well as the relative expression levels of genes involved in ion transport, were analyzed in S. salsa plants treated with 0 or 200 mM NaCl. The seed size, flower number, seed number per leaf axil, and anther fertility were all significantly increased by 200 mM NaCl treatment. The Na+ and Cl- contents in the leaves, stems, and pollen of NaCl-treated plants were all markedly higher, and the K+ content in the leaves and stems was significantly lower, than those in untreated control plants. By contrast, the K+ content in pollen grains did not decrease, but rather increased, upon NaCl treatment. Genes related to Na+, K+ and, Cl- transport, such as SOS1, KEA, AKT1, NHX1, and CHX, showed increased expression in the flowers of NaCl-treated plants. These results suggest that ionic homeostasis in reproductive organs, especially in pollen grains under salt-treated conditions, involves increased expression of ion transport-related genes.
Project description:Salinity is a major constraint for intrinsically salt sensitive grain legume chickpea. Chickpea exhibits large genetic variation amongst cultivars, which show better yields in saline conditions but still need to be improved further for sustainable crop production. Based on previous multi-location physiological screening, JG 11 (salt tolerant) and ICCV 2 (salt sensitive) were subjected to salt stress to evaluate their physiological and transcriptional responses. A total of ~480 million RNA-Seq reads were sequenced from root tissues which resulted in identification of 3,053 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in response to salt stress. Reproductive stage shows high number of DEGs suggesting major transcriptional reorganization in response to salt to enable tolerance. Importantly, cationic peroxidase, Aspartic ase, NRT1/PTR, phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinase, DREB1E and ERF genes were significantly up-regulated in tolerant genotype. In addition, we identified a suite of important genes involved in cell wall modification and root morphogenesis such as dirigent proteins, expansin and casparian strip membrane proteins that could potentially confer salt tolerance. Further, phytohormonal cross-talk between ERF and PIN-FORMED genes which modulate the root growth was observed. The gene set enrichment analysis and functional annotation of these genes suggests they may be utilised as potential candidates for improving chickpea salt tolerance.
Project description:Growth hormone auxin regulates various cellular processes by altering the expression of diverse genes in plants. Among various auxin-responsive genes, GH3 genes maintain endogenous auxin homeostasis by conjugating excess of auxin with amino acids. GH3 genes have been characterized in many plant species, but not in legumes. In the present work, we identified members of GH3 gene family and analyzed their chromosomal distribution, gene structure, gene duplication and phylogenetic analysis in different legumes, including chickpea, soybean, Medicago, and Lotus. A comprehensive expression analysis in different vegetative and reproductive tissues/stages revealed that many of GH3 genes were expressed in a tissue-specific manner. Notably, chickpea CaGH3-3, soybean GmGH3-8 and -25, and Lotus LjGH3-4, -5, -9 and -18 genes were up-regulated in root, indicating their putative role in root development. In addition, chickpea CaGH3-1 and -7, and Medicago MtGH3-7, -8, and -9 were found to be highly induced under drought and/or salt stresses, suggesting their role in abiotic stress responses. We also observed the examples of differential expression pattern of duplicated GH3 genes in soybean, indicating their functional diversification. Furthermore, analyses of three-dimensional structures, active site residues and ligand preferences provided molecular insights into function of GH3 genes in legumes. The analysis presented here would help in investigation of precise function of GH3 genes in legumes during development and stress conditions.
Project description:Cytokinin group of phytohormones regulate root elongation and branching during post-embryonic development. Cytokinin-degrading enzymes cytokinin oxidases/dehydrogenases (CKXs) have been deployed to investigate biological activities of cytokinin and to engineer root growth. We expressed chickpea cytokinin oxidase 6 (CaCKX6) under the control of a chickpea root-specific promoter of CaWRKY31 in Arabidopsis thaliana and chickpea having determinate and indeterminate growth patterns, respectively, to study the effect of cytokinin depletion on root growth and drought tolerance. Root-specific expression of CaCKX6 led to a significant increase in lateral root number and root biomass in Arabidopsis and chickpea without any penalty to vegetative and reproductive growth of shoot. Transgenic chickpea lines showed increased CKX activity in root. Soil-grown advanced chickpea transgenic lines exhibited higher root-to-shoot biomass ratio and enhanced long-term drought tolerance. These chickpea lines were not compromised in root nodulation and nitrogen fixation. The seed yield in some lines was up to 25% higher with no penalty in protein content. Transgenic chickpea seeds possessed higher levels of zinc, iron, potassium and copper. Our results demonstrated the potential of cytokinin level manipulation in increasing lateral root number and root biomass for agronomic trait improvement in an edible legume crop with indeterminate growth habit.
Project description:Drought adversely affects crop production across the globe. The root system immensely contributes to water management and the adaptability of plants to drought stress. In this study, drought-induced phenotypic and transcriptomic responses of two contrasting chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) genotypes were compared at the vegetative, reproductive transition, and reproductive stages. At the vegetative stage, drought-tolerant genotype maintained higher root biomass, length, and surface area under drought stress as compared to sensitive genotype. However, at the reproductive stage, root length and surface area of tolerant genotype was lower but displayed higher root diameter than sensitive genotype. The shoot biomass of tolerant genotype was overall higher than the sensitive genotype under drought stress. RNA-seq analysis identified genotype- and developmental-stage specific differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in response to drought stress. At the vegetative stage, a total of 2161 and 1873 DEGs, and at reproductive stage 4109 and 3772 DEGs, were identified in the tolerant and sensitive genotypes, respectively. Gene ontology (GO) analysis revealed enrichment of biological categories related to cellular process, metabolic process, response to stimulus, response to abiotic stress, and response to hormones. Interestingly, the expression of stress-responsive transcription factors, kinases, ROS signaling and scavenging, transporters, root nodulation, and oxylipin biosynthesis genes were robustly upregulated in the tolerant genotype, possibly contributing to drought adaptation. Furthermore, activation/repression of hormone signaling and biosynthesis genes was observed. Overall, this study sheds new insights on drought tolerance mechanisms operating in roots with broader implications for chickpea improvement.