, Volume 250, Issue 5, pp 1475–1489 | Cite as

Nitric oxide and phytohormone interactions in the response of Lactuca sativa to salinity stress

  • Fernanda V. Campos
  • Juraci A. OliveiraEmail author
  • Mayara G. Pereira
  • Fernanda S. Farnese
Original Article


Main conclusion

Nitric oxide increased lettuce’s tolerance to salinity by restoring its hormonal balance, consequently reducing Na + accumulation and activating defense mechanisms that allowed the attenuation of ionic, oxidative, and osmotic stresses.


Agricultural crops are continually threatened by soil salinity. The plant’s ability to tolerate soil salinity can be increased by treatment with the signaling molecule nitric oxide (NO). Involvement of NO in plant metabolism and its interactions with phytohormones have not been fully described, so knowledge about the role of this radical in signaling pathways remains fragmented. In this work, Lactuca sativa (lettuce) plants were subjected to four treatments: (1) control (nutrient solution); (2) SNP [nutrient solution containing 70 μM sodium nitroprusside (SNP), an NO donor]; (3) NaCl (nutrient solution containing 80 mM NaCl); or (4) SNP + NaCl (nutrient solution containing SNP and NaCl). The plants were exposed to these conditions for 24 h, and then, the roots and leaves were collected and used to evaluate biochemical parameters (reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, cell membrane damage, cell death, antioxidant enzymes activities, and proline concentration), physiological parameters (pigments’ concentration and gas-exchange measurements), and phytohormone content. To evaluate growth, tolerance index, and nutrient concentration, the plants were exposed to the treatments for 3 days. L sativa exposure to NaCl triggered ionic, osmotic, and oxidative stress, which resulted in hormone imbalance, cell death, and decreased growth. These deleterious changes were correlated with Na+ content in the vegetative tissues. Adding NO decreased Na+ accumulation and stabilized the mineral nutrient concentration, which maintained the photosynthetic rate and re-established growth. NO-signaling action also re-established the phytohormones balance and resulted in antioxidant system activation and osmotic regulation, with consequent increase in plants tolerance to the salt.


Ethylene Auxin Zeatin Photosynthesis Cell signaling Salinity 



The authors acknowledge the financial support by the following Brazilian agencies: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (Fapemig), Coordenacão de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). We are also greatful to the Núcleo de Análise de Biomoléculas of the Universidade Federal de Viçosa for providing the facilities for the conduction of the experiments and to Instituto Federal Goiano for financial assistance.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Federal Fluminense/Campus Avançado São João da BarraSão João da BarraBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Biologia GeralUniversidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil
  3. 3.Instituto Federal GoianoRio VerdeBrazil

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