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Comparing salt-induced responses at the transcript level in a salares and coastal-lowlands landrace of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd)

Ruiz, Karina B., Rapparini, Francesca, Bertazza, Gianpaolo, Silva, Herman, Torrigiani, Patrizia, Biondi, Stefania
Environmental and experimental botany 2017 v.139 pp. 127-142
Chenopodium quinoa, abscisic acid, biosynthesis, ecotypes, enzymes, gene expression, genes, germination, growth retardation, halophytes, homeostasis, landraces, oxidation, polyamines, proline, putrescine, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, roots, salinity, salt stress, seedling growth, shoots, sodium chloride, stress response, transcription (genetics), transcription factors
To further our understanding of the mechanisms governing salt stress responses and adaptation in halophytes, we explored morphological, metabolic, and gene expression responses to high salinity in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd). The main objective of this study was to analyze selected responsive genes in a time-course experiment to test for expression kinetics and to compare short-term salt-induced effects at the transcript level between two Chilean landraces belonging to different ecotypes. Quinoa genotypes exhibit a large variability in their responses to salinity, but it is not clear whether this is strictly related to the ecotype to which they belong. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the expression levels of genes involved in growth, ion homeostasis, abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis, perception, and conjugate cleavage, polyamine (PA) biosynthesis and oxidation, and proline biosynthesis as well as genes encoding ABA-dependent and −independent transcription factors. Landraces R49 (salares ecotype) and Villarrica (VR, coastal-lowlands ecotype) were analyzed from 0.5 to 120h after transfer to saline (300mM NaCl) or non-saline (control) medium. All the genes, except CqSOS1 and CqNHX, were investigated here for the first time in quinoa under salt stress. Transcript levels were determined by quantitative Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis. Germination, seedling growth, ABA, and PA contents were evaluated in parallel. Even though on saline medium germination was inhibited in VR but not in R49, seedling growth reduction at 120h was not substantially different in the two landraces. The ABA biosynthetic enzyme NCED was the most strongly salt-induced gene; ABA content was similarly enhanced (shoots) or unaffected (roots) in both R49 and VR. NaCl treatment also altered transcript levels of some PA metabolic enzymes and the PA profile leading to an enhanced ratio between the higher PAs and putrescine. All other genes also exhibited similar expression profiles in response to salinity in the two landraces especially in roots, while in shoots some differences were observed. Our results provide new information indicating that crucial salt adaptation strategies at the molecular level and in terms of ABA and PA contents are shared by the coastal-lowlands and salares landraces; however, the timing of the onset of transcriptional changes (e.g., NCED, ABF3, and RD22) may reflect genotype-dependent constitutive and/or inducible adaptive strategies.