One-time abscisic acid priming induces long-term salinity resistance in Vicia faba: Changes in key transcripts, metabolites, and ionic relations

Abscisic acid (ABA) priming is known to enhance plant growth and survival under salinity. However, the mechanisms mediating this long-term acclimatization to salt stress are still obscure. Specifically, the long-term transcriptional changes and their effects on ion relations were never investigated. This motivated us to study the long-term (8 days) effect of one-time 24 h root priming treatment with 10 μM ABA on transcription levels of relevant regulated key genes, osmotically relevant metabolites, and ionic concentrations in Vicia faba grown under 50 mM NaCl salinity. The novelty of this study is that we could demonstrate long-term effects of a one-time ABA application. ABA-priming was found to prevent the salt-induced decline in root and shoot dry matter, improved photosynthesis, and inhibited terminal wilting of plants. It substantially increased the mRNA level of AAPK and 14-3-3 ABA inducible kinases and ion transporters (PM H+ -ATPase, VFK1, KUP7, SOS1, and CLC1). These ABA-induced transcriptional changes went along with altered tissue ion patterns. Primed plants accumulated less Na+ and Cl- but more K+ , Ca2+ , Zn2+ , Fe2+ , Mn2+ , NO3- , and SO42- . Priming changed the composition pattern of organic osmolytes under salinity, with glucose and fructose being dominant in unprimed, whereas sucrose was dominant in the primed plants. We conclude that one-time ABA priming mitigates salt stress in Vicia faba by persistently changing transcription patterns of key genes, stabilizing the ionic and osmotic balance, and improving photosynthesis and growth.



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