UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Integration of Physiological, Transcriptomic, and Metabolomic Analyses Reveal Molecular Mechanisms of Salt Stress in Maclura tricuspidata Sui, Dezong; Wang, Baosong; El-Kassaby, Yousry A.; Wang, Lei


Salt stress is a universal abiotic stress that severely affects plant growth and development. Understanding the mechanisms of Maclura tricuspidate’s adaptation to salt stress is crucial for developing salt-tolerant plant varieties. This article discusses the integration of physiology, transcriptome, and metabolome to investigate the mechanism of salt adaptation in M. tricuspidata under salt stress conditions. Overall, the antioxidant enzyme system (SOD and POD) of M. tricuspidata exhibited higher activities compared with the control, while the content of soluble sugar and concentrations of chlorophyll a and b were maintained during salt stress. KEGG analysis revealed that deferentially expressed genes were primarily involved in plant hormone signal transduction, phenylpropanoid and flavonoid biosynthesis, alkaloids, and MAPK signaling pathways. Differential metabolites were enriched in amino acid metabolism, the biosynthesis of plant hormones, butanoate, and 2-oxocarboxylic acid metabolism. Interestingly, glycine, serine, and threonine metabolism were found to be important both in the metabolome and transcriptome–metabolome correlation analyses, suggesting their essential role in enhancing the salt tolerance of M. tricuspidata. Collectively, our study not only revealed the molecular mechanism of salt tolerance in M. tricuspidata, but also provided a new perspective for future salt-tolerant breeding and improvement in salt land for this species.

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