Overexpression of CrCOMT from Carex rigescens increases salt stress and modulates melatonin synthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana
CrCOMT, a COMT gene in Carex rigescens, was verified to enhance salt stress tolerance in transgenic Arabidopsis.
High salinity severely restricts plant growth and development while melatonin can alleviate salt damage. Caffeic acid O-methyltransferase (COMT) plays an important role in regulating plant growth, development, and stress responses. COMT could also participate in melatonin biosynthesis. The objective of this study was to identify CrCOMT from Carex rigescens (Franch.) V. Krecz, a stress-tolerant grass species with a widespread distribution in north China, and to determine its physiological functions and regulatory mechanisms that impart tolerance to salt stress. The results showed that the transcription of CrCOMT exhibited different expression patterns under salt, drought, and ABA treatments. Transgenic Arabidopsis with the overexpression of CrCOMT exhibited improved growth and physiological performance under salt stress, such as higher lateral root numbers, proline level, and chlorophyll content, than in the wild type (WT). Overexpression of CrCOMT also increased dehydration tolerance in Arabidopsis. The transcription of salt response genes was more highly activated in transgenic plants than in the WT under salt stress conditions. In addition, the melatonin content in transgenic plants was higher than that in the WT after stress treatment. Taken together, our results indicated that CrCOMT may positively regulate stress responses and melatonin synthesis under salt stress.
KeywordsCarex rigescens COMT Transgenic Arabidopsis Salt stress Melatonin
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant nos. 31872996 and 31472139). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Author contribution statement
KZ and YS carried out the experimental design. KZ, HC, SC, LY, and ML performed the experiments and prepared the manuscript and coordinated its revision. ML and YS read and revised the manuscript. All authors provided helpful discussions and approved its final version.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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