Salt tolerance traits in Deschampsia antarctica Desv.
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Bravo Ramirez L.A.
Deschampsia antarctica Desv. (Poaceae) grows in coastal habitats in the Maritime Antarctic where it is often exposed to sea spray. Salt crystals have been observed on the surface of leaves in plants treated with high NaCl. We investigated if D. antarctica is a salt tolerant species that allows sodium ions to diffuse into the root where a salt overly sensitive (SOS) system extrudes Na+ from root cells and facilitates its movement through the xylem up to the leaves. Leaf epidermis, physiological parameters and sodium transporters in D. antarctica plants exposed to NaCl were studied over 21 days. Epidermal scanning electron microscopy showed trichome induction in the leaves of salt treated plants. In addition, salt treated plants showed increased sodium and proline levels with a concomitant increased expression of SOS genes (1 and 3). These results indicate that Na+ is taken up by the roots of D. antarctica and transported to the leaves. The sodium flux may be controlled by SOS1 activity. Up-regulation of the SOS1 gene may be involved in the increased sodium levels observed in the leaves of salt treated plants. Trichomes may also be involved in sodium exudation through the leaves under saline conditions. © Antarctic Science Ltd 2016.
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