, Volume 230, Issue 1, pp 119-134
Date: 11 Apr 2009

The role of root apoplastic transport barriers in salt tolerance of rice (Oryza sativa L.)

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Increasing soil salinity reduces crop yields worldwide, with rice being particularly affected. We have examined the correlation between apoplastic barrier formation in roots, Na+ uptake into shoots and plant survival for three rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars of varying salt sensitivity: the salt-tolerant Pokkali, moderately tolerant Jaya and sensitive IR20. Rice plants grown hydroponically or in soil for 1 month were subjected to both severe and moderate salinity stress. Apoplastic barriers in roots were visualized using fluorescence microscopy and their chemical composition determined by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Na+ content was estimated by flame photometry. Suberization of apoplastic barriers in roots of Pokkali was the most extensive of the three cultivars, while Na+ accumulation in the shoots was the least. Saline stress induced the strengthening of these barriers in both sensitive and tolerant cultivars, with increase in mRNAs encoding suberin biosynthetic enzymes being detectable within 30 min of stress. Enhanced barriers were detected after several days of moderate stress. Overall, more extensive apoplastic barriers in roots correlated with reduced Na+ uptake and enhanced survival when challenged with high salinity.