skip to main content

Title: Emerging investigator series: molecular mechanisms of plant salinity stress tolerance improvement by seed priming with cerium oxide nanoparticles
Engineered nanomaterials interfaced with plant seeds can improve stress tolerance during the vulnerable seedling stage. Herein, we investigated how priming seeds with antioxidant poly(acrylic acid)-coated cerium oxide nanoparticles (PNC) impacts cotton ( Gossypium hirsutum L.) seedling morphological, physiological, biochemical, and transcriptomic traits under salinity stress. Seeds primed with 500 mg L −1 PNC in water (24 h) and germinated under salinity stress (200 mM NaCl) retained nanoparticles in the seed coat inner tegmen, cotyledon, and root apical meristem. Seed priming with PNC significantly ( P < 0.05) increased seedling root length (56%), fresh weight (41%), and dry weight (38%), modified root anatomical structure, and increased root vitality (114%) under salt stress compared with controls (water). PNC seed priming led to a decrease in reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation in seedling roots (46%) and alleviated root morphological and physiological changes induced by salinity stress. Roots from exposed seeds exhibited similar Na content, significantly decreased K (6%), greater Ca (22%) and Mg content (60%) compared to controls. A total of 4779 root transcripts were differentially expressed by PNC seed priming alone relative to controls with no nanoparticles under non-saline conditions. Under salinity stress, differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in PNC seed priming treatments more » relative to non-nanoparticle controls were associated with ROS pathways (13) and ion homeostasis (10), indicating that ROS and conserved Ca 2+ plant signaling pathways likely play pivotal roles in PNC-induced improvement of salinity tolerance. These results provide potential unifying molecular mechanisms of nanoparticle-seed priming enhancement of plant salinity tolerance. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Environmental Science: Nano
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Salinity is a widespread environmental stress that severely limits crop yield worldwide. Cerium oxide nanoparticles (nanoceria) have the unique capability of catalytically reducing levels of stress-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) including hydroxyl radicals (˙OH) that lack enzymatic scavenging pathways. The underlying mechanisms of how nanoceria ROS scavenging augments plant tolerance to environmental stress are not well understood. Herein, we demonstrate that catalytic ˙OH scavenging by nanoceria in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves significantly improves mesophyll K + retention, a key trait associated with salinity stress tolerance. Leaves with mesophyll cells interfaced with 50 mg L −1 poly(acrylic acid) coated nanoceria (PNC) have significantly higher ( P < 0.05) carbon assimilation rates (85%), quantum efficiency of photosystem II (9%), and chlorophyll content (14%) compared to controls after being exposed to 100 mM NaCl for 3 days. PNC infiltrated leaves (PNC-leaves) under salinity stress exhibit lower ROS levels – including hydroxyl radical (41%) and its precursor hydrogen peroxide (44%) – and one fold higher ( P < 0.05) cytosolic K + dye intensity in leaf mesophyll cells relative to controls. Non-invasive microelectrode ion flux electrophysiological (MIFE) measurements indicated that PNC-leaves have about three-fold lower NaCl-induced K + efflux from leaf mesophyll cells compared tomore »controls upon exposure to salinity stress. The ROS-activated nonselective cation channels (ROS-NSCC) in the plasma membrane of leaf mesophyll cells were identified as the main ˙OH-inducible K + efflux channels. Long term catalytic scavenging of ˙OH in leaves by PNC enhances plant photosynthetic performance under salinity stress by enabling plasma membrane channels/transporters to coordinately retain higher levels of K + in the leaf mesophyll cell cytosol. PNC augmented plant ROS scavenging provides a key tool for understanding and improving plant tolerance against abiotic stresses such as salinity.« less
  2. Nanofertilizer application is becoming a sustainable alternative for plants micronutrients supply. Seed nutrient priming before seeding reduces non- target dispersion; although, applying nanofertilizer in correct concentration must be narrowly chosen to prevent germination and development issues. Here, we evaluated corn seedlings development and germination after seed priming with Mn3O4 nanoparticle (NP), Mn3O4 bulk and MnCl2. Sterile seeds were soaked for 8hours in priming solutions of 0, 20, 40, 80 and 160mg L1 for each Mn sources. The seeds vigor and germination were evaluated after 7 days on germination paper. Root, shoot and total lengths were measured as well as root, shoot and total dry biomass. Compared to the control, the Mn3O4 NP and Mn3O4 bulk promoted beneficial effects. Mn3O4 NP seed-priming exhibited a concentration dependent profile in improving seedling growth, with greatest benefit around 20mg L1, pro- viding higher germination, vigor, dry biomass and length than control and the other source tested. Particle size plays an important role in the reactiv- ity of Mn3O4 NP. On the other hand, seeds primed with soluble source did not differ from the control. These findings support NP-seed priming as an alternative to delivery micronutrients.
  3. Plants live in association with microorganisms that positively influence plant development, vigor, and fitness in response to pathogens and abiotic stressors. The bulk of the plant microbiome is concentrated belowground at the plant root-soil interface. Plant roots secrete carbon-rich rhizodeposits containing primary and secondary low molecular weight metabolites, lysates, and mucilages. These exudates provide nutrients for soil microorganisms and modulate their affinity to host plants, but molecular details of this process are largely unresolved. We addressed this gap by focusing on the molecular dialog between eight well-characterized beneficial strains of the Pseudomonas fluorescens group and Brachypodium distachyon , a model for economically important food, feed, forage, and biomass crops of the grass family. We collected and analyzed root exudates of B. distachyon and demonstrated the presence of multiple carbohydrates, amino acids, organic acids, and phenolic compounds. The subsequent screening of bacteria by Biolog Phenotype MicroArrays revealed that many of these metabolites provide carbon and energy for the Pseudomonas strains. RNA-seq profiling of bacterial cultures amended with root exudates revealed changes in the expression of genes encoding numerous catabolic and anabolic enzymes, transporters, transcriptional regulators, stress response, and conserved hypothetical proteins. Almost half of the differentially expressed genes mapped to themore »variable part of the strains’ pangenome, reflecting the importance of the variable gene content in the adaptation of P. fluorescens to the rhizosphere lifestyle. Our results collectively reveal the diversity of cellular pathways and physiological responses underlying the establishment of mutualistic interactions between these beneficial rhizobacteria and their plant hosts.« less
  4. Abstract

    The rice landrace Horkuch, endemic to the southern saline coast of Bangladesh, is known to have salt tolerance traits and can therefore contribute to a high yielding recipient for breeding purposes. In this study, we reciprocally crossed Horkuch with high yielding but salt sensitive IR29 to detect the complement of genes that were responsible for conferring salt tolerance versus sensitivity at the seedling developmental stage. We looked at tolerant and sensitive F3families from individual F2segregating plants and analyzed them for differential gene expressions using RNAseq. In general, we observed higher numbers of genes differentially expressed in leaves compared to root tissues. This included both upregulation and downregulation of gene expression across our experimental factors. Gene expression decreased in sensitive leaf after stress exposure where tolerant plants showed the opposite trend. In root, tolerant plants expression decreased at higher time points of stress exposure. We also observed a strong maternal cytoplasmic effect on gene expression and this was most evident in roots where there was upregulation in functional enrichments related to phosphorylation, electron carriers, transporter and cation transmembrane activities. Stress groups (tolerant and sensitive) response in F3families were distinctive in both cytoplasmic backgrounds and involved uniquely upregulated genes in tolerantmore »progenies including membrane sensor proteins, enzymes involved with signaling pathways, such as those producing trehalose and G-protein coupled receptor proteins, photosynthesis-related enzymes and golgi body recycling as well as prolamin precursor proteins involved in refolding of proteins. On the other hand, sensitivity was found to be associated with differential upregulation of only a few redox proteins and higher number of apoptosis related genes compared to the tolerant response. Overall, our highly replicated experimental design was powerful and allowed the detection of relatively subtle differential expression. Our future goal is to correlate these expression differences with QTLs in this population, which would help identify the relative importance of specific genetic loci and provide a direct avenue for combining higher levels of salt tolerance with better agronomic traits in rice.

    « less
  5. Shade, Ashley (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We develop a method to artificially select for rhizosphere microbiomes that confer salt tolerance to the model grass Brachypodium distachyon grown under sodium salt stress or aluminum salt stress. In a controlled greenhouse environment, we differentially propagated rhizosphere microbiomes between plants of a nonevolving, highly inbred plant population; therefore, only microbiomes evolved in our experiment, but the plants did not evolve in parallel. To maximize microbiome perpetuation when transplanting microbiomes between plants and, thus, maximize response to microbiome selection, we improved earlier methods by (i) controlling microbiome assembly when inoculating seeds at the beginning of each selection cycle; (ii) fractionating microbiomes before transfer between plants to harvest, perpetuate, and select on only bacterial and viral microbiome components; (iii) ramping of salt stress gradually from minor to extreme salt stress with each selection cycle to minimize the chance of overstressing plants; (iv) using two nonselection control treatments (e.g., nonselection microbial enrichment and null inoculation) that permit comparison to the improving fitness benefits that selected microbiomes impart on plants. Unlike previous methods, our selection protocol generated microbiomes that enhance plant fitness after only 1 to 3 rounds of microbiome selection. After nine rounds of microbiome selection, the effect of microbiomes selectedmore »to confer tolerance to aluminum salt stress was nonspecific (these artificially selected microbiomes equally ameliorate sodium and aluminum salt stresses), but the effect of microbiomes selected to confer tolerance to sodium salt stress was specific (these artificially selected microbiomes do not confer tolerance to aluminum salt stress). Plants with artificially selected microbiomes had 55 to 205% greater seed production than plants with unselected control microbiomes. IMPORTANCE We developed an experimental protocol that improves earlier methods of artificial selection on microbiomes and then tested the efficacy of our protocol to breed root-associated bacterial microbiomes that confer salt tolerance to a plant. Salt stress limits growth and seed production of crop plants, and artificially selected microbiomes conferring salt tolerance may ultimately help improve agricultural productivity. Unlike previous experiments of microbiome selection, our selection protocol generated microbiomes that enhance plant productivity after only 1 to 3 rounds of artificial selection on root-associated microbiomes, increasing seed production under extreme salt stress by 55 to 205% after nine rounds of microbiome selection. Although we artificially selected microbiomes under controlled greenhouse conditions that differ from outdoor conditions, increasing seed production by 55 to 205% under extreme salt stress is a remarkable enhancement of plant productivity compared to traditional plant breeding. We describe a series of additional experimental protocols that will advance insights into key parameters that determine efficacy and response to microbiome selection.« less