PAOs new

Polyamines (PAs) are nitrogenous molecules that are indispensable for cell viability and with an agreed-on role in the modulation of stress responses. Tobacco plants with downregulated SAMDC (AS-SAMDC) exhibit reduced PAs synthesis but normal levels of PA catabolism. We used AS-SAMDC to increase our understanding on the role of PAs in stress responses. Surprisingly, at control conditions AS-SAMDC plants showed increased biomass and altered developmental characteristics, such as increased height and leaf number. On the contrary, during salt stress AS-SAMDC plants showed reduced vigor when compared to the WT. During salt stress, the AS-SAMDC plants although showing compensatory readjustments of the antioxidant machinery and of photosynthetic apparatus, they failed to sustain their vigor. AS-SAMDC sensitivity was accompanied by inability to effectively control H2O2 levels and concentrations of monovalent and divalent cations. In accordance with these findings, we suggest that PAs may regulate the trade-off between growth and tolerance responses.

We also examined whether apoplastic PAO controls also plant development and tolerance of adult plants during long-term salt stress. The AS-ZmPAO plants contained higher Ca2+ during salt stress, showing also reduced chlorophyll content index (CCI), leaf area and biomass but taller phenotype compared to the wild-type plants during salt. On the contrary, the S-ZmPAO had more leaves with slightly greater size compared to the AS-ZmPAO and higher antioxidant genes/enzyme activities. Accumulation of proline in the roots was evident at prolonged stress and correlated negatively with PAO deregulation as did the transcripts of genes mediating ethylene biosynthesis. In contrast to the strong effect of apoplastic PAO to salt tolerance in young plants described previously, the effect it exerts at later stages of development is rather moderate. However, the different phenotypes observed in plants deregulating PAO reinforce the view that apoplastic PAO exerts multifaceted roles on plant growth and stress responses. Our data suggest that deregulation of the apoplastic PAO can be further examined as a potential approach to breed plants with enhanced/reduced tolerance to abiotic stress with minimal associated trade-offs.

Genetically modified Nicotiana tabacum plants with altered PA/H2O2 homeostasis due to over/underexpression of the ZmPAO gene (S-ZmPAO/AS-ZmPAO, respectively) were assessed under heat stress (HS). Underexpression of ZmPAO correlates with increased thermotolerance of the photosynthetic machinery and improved biomass accumulation, accompanied by enhanced levels of the enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, whereas ZmPAO overexpressors exhibit significant impairment of thermotolerance. These data provide important clues on PA catabolism/H2O2/thermotolerance, which merit further exploitation.

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Melidou et al., 2016.pdf4.11 MB
Gémes et al., 2017.pdf3.08 MB
Melidou et al., 2017.pdf473 KB