, Volume 207, Issue 3, pp 426-435

Salt stress in Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L. cell suspensions activates adaptive mechanisms similar to those observed in the whole plant

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A salt-tolerant stable cell-suspension culture from the halophyte Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L. has been established from calli generated from leaves of 6-week-old well-watered plants. Optimal cell growth was observed in the presence of 200 mM NaCl, and within 7 d cells were able to concentrate Na+ to levels exceeding those in the growth medium. Accumulation of Na+ was paralled by increases in the compatible solute pinitol and myo-inositol methyl transferase (IMT), a key enzyme in pinitol biosynthesis. Increasing concentrations of NaCl stimulated the activities of tonoplast and plasma-membrane H+-ATPases. Immunodetection of the ATPases showed that the increased activity was not due to changes in protein amount that could be attributed to treatment conditions. A specific role for these mechanisms in salt-adaptation is supported by the inability of mannitol-induced water stress to elicit the same responses, and the absence of enzyme activity and protein expression associated with Crassulacean acid metabolism in the cells. Results demonstrate that these  M. crystallinum cell suspensions show a halophytic growth response, comparable to that of the whole plant, and thus provide a valuable tool for studying signaling and biochemical pathways involved in salt recognition and response.

Received: 18 June 1998 / Accepted: 22 August 1998