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Comparative physiological responses and transcriptome analysis reveal the roles of melatonin and serotonin in regulating growth and metabolism in Arabidopsis

Wan, Jinpeng, Zhang, Ping, Wang, Ruling, Sun, Liangliang, Ju, Qiong, Xu, Jin
BMC plant biology 2018 v.18 no.1 pp. 362
Arabidopsis, amino acids, carbon metabolism, crop production, gene expression, genes, glycolysis, iron, melatonin, morphogenesis, nutrient deficiencies, photosystem II, plant growth, serotonin, stress response, transcriptome, transcriptomics, tricarboxylic acid cycle
BACKGROUND: Melatonin and serotonin are well-known signaling molecules that mediate multiple physiological activities in plants, including stress defense, growth, development, and morphogenesis, but their underlying mechanisms have not yet been thoroughly elucidated. In this study, we investigated the roles of melatonin and serotonin in modulating plant growth and defense by integrating physiological and transcriptome analyses in Arabidopsis. RESULTS: Moderate concentrations of melatonin and serotonin did not affect primary root (PR) growth but markedly induced lateral root (LR) formation. Both melatonin and serotonin locally induced the expression of the cell-wall-remodeling-related genes LBD16 and XTR6, thereby inducing LR development. Our data support the idea that melatonin and serotonin lack any auxin-like activity. Treatment with 50 μM serotonin significantly improved PSII activity, and the transcriptome data supported this result. Melatonin and serotonin slightly affected glycolysis and the TCA cycle; however, they markedly regulated the catabolism of several key amino acids, thereby affecting carbon metabolism and energy metabolism. Melatonin and serotonin improved iron (Fe) deficiency tolerance by inducing Fe-responsive gene expression. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our results from the physiological and transcriptome analyses reveal the roles of melatonin and serotonin in modulating plant growth and stress responses and provide insight into novel crop production strategies using these two phytoneurotransmitters.