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Ice plants under stress
In the Literature.

Here, GNN posts five papers about gene expression in ice plants in response to environmental stress by salt and aridity.

See also GNN's Art Gallery Crystalline ice plants.


Environmental and developmental regulation of the wound-induced cell wall protein wi12 in the halophyte ice plant.

A wounded gene WI12 was used as a marker to examine the interaction between biotic stress (wounding) and abiotic stress (high salt) in the facultative halophyte ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum). The deduced WI12 amino acid sequence has 68% similarity to WUN1, a known potato (Solanum tuberosum) wound-induced protein. Wounding, methyl jasmonate, and pathogen infection induced local WI12 expression. Upon wounding, the expression of WI12 reached a maximum level after 3 h in 4-week-old juvenile leaves, whereas the maximum expression was after 24 h in 8-week-old adult leaves. The temporal expression of WI12 in salt-stressed juvenile leaves was similar to that of adult leaves. The result suggests that a salt-induced switch from C3 to Crassulacean acid metabolism has a great influence on the ice plant's response to wounding. The expression of WI12 and the accumulation of WI12 protein were constitutively found in phloem and in wounded mesophyll cells. At the reproductive stage, WI12 was constitutively found in petals and styles, and developmentally regulated in the placenta and developing seeds. The histochemical analysis showed that the appearance of WI12 is controlled by both environmental and developmental factors. Immunogold labeling showed WI12 preferentially accumulates in the cell wall, suggesting its role in the reinforcement of cell wall composition after wounding and during plant development.

Plant Physiol 2001 Oct;127(2):517-28.

Salt-induced expression of the vacuolar H+-ATPase in the common ice plant is developmentally controlled and tissue specific.

For salinity stress tolerance in plants, the vacuolar type H+-ATPase (V-ATPase) is of prime importance in energizing sodium sequestration into the central vacuole and it is known to respond to salt stress with increased expression and enzyme activity. In this work we provide information that the expressional response to salinity of the V-ATPase is regulated tissue and cell specifically under developmental control in the facultative halophyte common ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum). By transcript analysis of subunit E of the V-ATPase, amounts did not change in response to salinity stress in juvenile plants that are not salt-tolerant. In a converse manner, in halotolerant mature plants the transcript levels increased in leaves, but not in roots when salt stressed for 72 h. By in situ hybridizations and immunocytological protein analysis, subunit E was shown to be synthesized in all cell types. During salt stress, signal intensity declined in root cortex cells and in the cells of the root vascular cylinder. In salt-stressed leaves of mature plants, the strongest signals were localized surrounding the vasculature. Within control cells and with highest abundance in mesophyll cells of salt-treated leaves, accumulation of subunit E protein was observed in the cytoplasm, indicating its presence not only in the tonoplast, but also in other endoplasmic compartments.

Plant Physiol 2001 Apr;125(4):1643-54.

Expression and stress-dependent induction of potassium channel transcripts in the common ice plant.

We have characterized transcripts for three potassium channel homologs in the AKT/KAT subfamily (Shaker type) from the common ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum), with a focus on their expression during salt stress (up to 500 mM NaCl). Mkt1 and 2, Arabidopsis AKT homologs, and Kmt1, a KAT homolog, are members of small gene families with two to three isoforms each. Mkt1 is root specific; Mkt2 is found in leaves, flowers, and seed capsules; and Kmt1 is expressed in leaves and seed capsules. Mkt1 is present in all cells of the root, and in leaves a highly conserved isoform is detected present in all cells with highest abundance in the vasculature. MKT1 for which antibodies were made is localized to the plasma membrane. Following salt stress, MKT1 (transcripts and protein) is drastically down-regulated, Mkt2 transcripts do not change significantly, and Kmt1 is strongly and transiently (maximum at 6 h) up-regulated in leaves and stems. The detection and stress-dependent behavior of abundant transcripts representing subfamilies of potassium channels provides information about tissue specificity and the complex regulation of genes encoding potassium uptake systems in a halophytic plant.

Plant Physiol 2001 Feb;125(2):604-14.

Salt regulation of transcript levels for the c subunit of a leaf vacuolar H(+)-ATPase in the halophyte Mesembryanthemum crystallinum.

The halophyte Mesembryanthemum crystallinum is an inducible crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plant native to seasonally arid coastal environments that has been widely used to study plant responses to environmental stress. On exposure of plants to salt, the activities of both the tonoplast (vacuolar) H(+)-ATPase (V-ATPase) and Na+/H+ antiporter increase in leaf cells, thereby energizing vacuolar salt accumulation. To investigate the molecular basis of this response, a cDNA (Vmac1) encoding the H(+)-conducting c subunit (16.6 kDa) of an M. crystallinum V-ATPase has been cloned. Northern analysis of RNA from leaves of plants treated with NaCl or with isoosmotic mannitol solutions demonstrated (i) that NaCl increased steady-state transcript levels for the V-ATPase c subunit, and (ii) that this effect was caused by the ionic rather than the osmotic component of salt stress. Southern analysis of genomic DNA suggested the probable existence of more than one gene for this subunit of the V-ATPase in M. crystallinum. Expression studies using the 3'-untranslated region of the Vmac1 cDNa as a probe showed that the corresponding salt-inducible transcript was preferentially expressed in leaves. Induction by salt was also observed in juvenile plants in addition to adult ones. These findings, as well as the inability of mannitol to upregulate mRNA levels for this gene, clearly differentiate between the induction of transcript for the V-ATPase c subunit and for genes involved in the CAM pathway in M. crystallinum. Further, the plant growth regulator abscisic acid (ABA) was able to mimic the effect of salt on transcript levels for the V-ATPase c subunit, suggesting the possible involvement of ABA in a distinct signal-transduction pathway linked to vacuolar salt accumulation in this highly salt-tolerant species.

Plant J 1996 May;9(5):729-36.

Direct screening of a small genome: estimation of the magnitude of plant gene expression changes during adaptation to high salt.

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum (common ice plant), a facultative halophyte with a genome size of 393,000 kb, was used to estimate the magnitude of changes in gene expression in response to environmental stress by excess salt. Such treatment induces a water-conserving pathway of carbon assimilation (CAM) which is, at least in part, transcriptionally controlled. From a genomic library, 200 phage containing approximately 3200 kb (0.8% of the genome) were randomly selected. The inserts in these clones could be divided into four classes ranging from highly repetitive DNA (class I clones) to single-copy DNA (class IV clones). The inserts of the 166 clones of classes II to IV were digested with various restriction enzymes and the fragments were analyzed by hybridization with radioactively labelled mRNA isolated from stressed and unstressed leaves. We found that a total of approximately 140 DNA fragments hybridized with the RNA probe. Among those, several differentially regulated transcripts were observed. Stress-dependent fluctuation of mRNA abundance was verified by Northern analyses: one mRNA, not detectable in unstressed leaves, appeared in stressed leaves, while steady-state levels of three transcripts decreased during stress. All regulated signals are derived from low abundance mRNAs, which may be missed during screening of cDNA libraries. We conclude from these results that, for the entire genome, on the order of more than one hundred genes are differentially regulated in response to salt stress.

Mol Gen Genet 1990 Dec;224(3):347-56.

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