Plant and Soil

, Volume 429, Issue 1–2, pp 451–468 | Cite as

Global metabolomics analysis reveals distinctive tolerance mechanisms in different plant organs of lentil (Lens culinaris) upon salinity stress

  • Dimitrios Skliros
  • Chrysanthi Kalloniati
  • Georgios Karalias
  • George N. Skaracis
  • Heinz Rennenberg
  • Emmanouil Flemetakis
Regular Article


Background and Aims

Omic technologies in the past years have provided a variety of data in model plants. In legumes, results οn Lotus japonicus and Medicago truncatula have highlighted the biochemistry which takes place inside cells under a variety of abiotic stresses. Here we conducted metabolomics in the forage legume lentil (Lens culinaris) upon salinity stress on acclimated and non-acclimated plants and compared results from leaf and root analyses.


We used two lentil varieties, originated from different geographical locations and studied differences in their global metabolite profile i) using gradual or initial application of salt stress, ii) between leaves and roots, and iii) between the varieties.


Most important differences were noted in salinity induced diminished abundance of organic acids in both varieties’ leaves and roots, accumulation of sugars and polyols in leaves, and accumulation of other key-metabolites, such as L-asparagine, D-trehalose, allantoin and urea in the roots. We also demonstrated the driver of deleterious Cl accumulation in leaves for potential compartmentalization in the vacuole, a defensive mechanism for withstanding salinity stress in plants. Finally, a model is suggested of how legumes upregulate a metabolic pathway, which involves purines catabolism in order to assimilate carbon and nitrogen, which are limited during salinity stress.


Future omics works with lentil can help understanding the regulation of the biochemical “arsenal” against abiotic stresses such as salinity and render the selection of better crops.


Lens culinaris Lentil Metabolomics Abiotic Salinity Stress Purines Legumes 



Gradual Application


Initial Application



The authors extend their sincere appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University for funding this Prolific Research Group (PRG-1436-24).

Author’s Contributions

EF and DS conceived the study and designed the research. DS, CK, GK and HR performed experimental work. DS and CK performed bioinformatics work. DS, CK and GK analyzed the data. EF, DS and CK wrote the draft manuscript. HR and GNS critical revised the draft manuscript and all the authors commented on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11104_2018_3691_MOESM1_ESM.xls (556 kb)
Table S1 Average relative content of metabolites for variety F-56 and LC-960254 and their respective roots and leaves upon control and salinity treatments. (XLS 556 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dimitrios Skliros
    • 1
  • Chrysanthi Kalloniati
    • 1
  • Georgios Karalias
    • 1
  • George N. Skaracis
    • 2
  • Heinz Rennenberg
    • 3
    • 4
  • Emmanouil Flemetakis
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Department of Biotechnology, School of Food, Biotechnology and DevelopmentAgricultural University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Laboratory of Plant Breeding and Biometry, Department of Crop ScienceAgricultural University of AthensAthensGreece
  3. 3.Fakultät für Umwelt und Natürliche Ressourcen (UNR), Institut für Forstwissenschaften, Professur für BaumphysiologieAlbert-Ludwigs-University FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  4. 4.College of Science, King Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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