24-Epibrassinolide alleviates the toxic effects of NaCl on photosynthetic processes in potato plants

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Brassinosteroids are promising agents for alleviating the negative effects of salinity on plants, but the mechanism of their protective action is far from being understood. We investigated the effect of pretreatment with 24-epibrassinolide (24-EBL) on the photosynthetic and physiological parameters of potato plants under progressive salinity stress caused by root application of 100 mM NaCl. Salinity clearly inhibited primary photosynthetic processes in potato plants by reducing the contents of photosynthetic pigments, photosynthetic electron transport and photosystem II (PSII) maximal and effective quantum yields. These negative effects of salinity on primary photosynthetic processes were mainly due to toxic ionic effects on the plant’s ability to oxidize the plastoquinone pool. Pretreatment with 24-EBL alleviated this stress effect and allowed the maintenance of plastoquinone pool oxidation and the efficiency of photosystem II photochemistry to be at the same levels as those in unstressed plants; however, the pretreatment did not affect the photosynthetic pigment content. 24-EBL pretreatment clearly alleviated the decrease in leaf osmotic potential under salinity stress. The stress-induced increases in lipid peroxidation and proline contents were not changed under brassinosteroid pretreatment. However, 24-EBL pretreatment increased the peroxidase activity and improved the K+/Na+ ratio in potato leaves, which were likely responsible for the protective 24-EBL action under salt stress.

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The analyses of plant growth parameters, water status and photosynthetic parameters were supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Project No. 19-34-50045 mol_nr), the analyses of gene expression and elemental composition were supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Project No. 16-16-04057); assessment of physiological parameters was supported by The Tomsk State University competitiveness improvement programme.

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Correspondence to Ilya E. Zlobin or Suleyman I. Allakhverdiev.

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Kolomeichuk, L.V., Efimova, M.V., Zlobin, I.E. et al. 24-Epibrassinolide alleviates the toxic effects of NaCl on photosynthetic processes in potato plants. Photosynth Res (2020).

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  • Solanum tuberosum L.
  • Salinity stress
  • Photosystem II
  • Osmotic potential
  • Mineral element contents