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A quantitative profiling method of phytohormones and other metabolites applied to barley roots subjected to salinity stress

Cao, D., Lutz, A., Hill, C.B.ORCID: 0000-0002-6754-5553, Callahan, D.L. and Roessner, U. (2017) A quantitative profiling method of phytohormones and other metabolites applied to barley roots subjected to salinity stress. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7 . Article 2070.

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As integral parts of plant signaling networks, phytohormones are involved in the regulation of plant metabolism and growth under adverse environmental conditions, including salinity. Globally, salinity is one of the most severe abiotic stressors with an estimated 800 million hectares of arable land affected. Roots are the first plant organ to sense salinity in the soil, and are the initial site of sodium (Na+) exposure. However, the quantification of phytohormones in roots is challenging, as they are often present at extremely low levels compared to other plant tissues. To overcome this challenge, we developed a high-throughput LC-MS method to quantify ten endogenous phytohormones and their metabolites of diverse chemical classes in roots of barley. This method was validated in a salinity stress experiment with six barley varieties grown hydroponically with and without salinity. In addition to phytohormones, we quantified 52 polar primary metabolites, including some phytohormone precursors, using established GC-MS and LC-MS methods. Phytohormone and metabolite data were correlated with physiological measurements including biomass, plant size and chlorophyll content. Root and leaf elemental analysis was performed to determine Na+ exclusion and K+ retention ability in the studied barley varieties. We identified distinct phytohormone and metabolite signatures as a response to salinity stress in different barley varieties. Abscisic acid increased in the roots of all varieties under salinity stress, and elevated root salicylic acid levels were associated with an increase in leaf chlorophyll content. Furthermore, the landrace Sahara maintained better growth, had lower Na+ levels and maintained high levels of the salinity stress linked metabolite putrescine as well as the phytohormone metabolite cinnamic acid, which has been shown to increase putrescine concentrations in previous studies. This study highlights the importance of root phytohormones under salinity stress and the multi-variety analysis provides an important update to analytical methodology, and adds to the current knowledge of salinity stress responses in plants at the molecular level.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Frontiers
Copyright: © 2017 Cao, Lutz, Hill, Callahan and Roessner.
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