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Molecules 2018, 23(3), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23030535

Tolerance to Stress Combination in Tomato Plants: New Insights in the Protective Role of Melatonin

1
CEBAS-CSIC, Department of Plant Nutrition, Campus Universitario de Espinardo, Ed 25, 30100 Espinardo, Murcia, Spain
2
CEBAS-CSIC, Department of Irrigation, Campus Universitario de Espinardo, Ed 25, 30100 Espinardo, Murcia, Spain
3
Univ North Texas, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences, 1155 Union Circle 305220, Denton, TX 76203, USA
These authors equally contributed to this manuscript.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract

Abiotic stresses such as drought, heat or salinity are major causes of yield loss worldwide. Recent studies have revealed that the acclimation of plants to a combination of different environmental stresses is unique and therefore cannot be directly deduced from studying the response of plants to each of the different stresses applied individually. The efficient detoxification of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is thought to play a key role in enhancing the tolerance of plants to abiotic stresses. Here, we report on the role of melatonin in the protection of the photosynthetic apparatus through the increase in ROS detoxification in tomato plants grown under the combination of salinity and heat, two of the most common abiotic stresses known to act jointly. Plants treated with exogenous melatonin showed a different modulation in the expression on some antioxidant-related genes and their related enzymes. More specifically, ascorbate peroxidase, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase and phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase (APX, GR, GPX and Ph-GPX, resepctively) showed an antagonistic regulation as compared to plants that did not receive melatonin. This translated into a better antioxidant capacity and to a lesser ROS accumulation under stress combination. The performance of the photosynthesis parameters and the photosystems was also increased in plants treated with exogenous melatonin under the combination of salinity and heat. In accordance with these findings, tomato plants treated with melatonin were found to grow better under stress combination that the non-treated ones. Our study highlights the important role that exogenous melatonin plays in the acclimation of plants to a combination of two different abiotic stresses, and how this compound can specifically regulate oxidative stress-related genes and enzymes to increase plant tolerance. View Full-Text
Keywords: abiotic stress combination; salinity; heat; photosynthesis; photosystem II; ROS homeostasis; antioxidant-related gene expression; antioxidant enzymes; tomato plants abiotic stress combination; salinity; heat; photosynthesis; photosystem II; ROS homeostasis; antioxidant-related gene expression; antioxidant enzymes; tomato plants
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Martinez, V.; Nieves-Cordones, M.; Lopez-Delacalle, M.; Rodenas, R.; Mestre, T.C.; Garcia-Sanchez, F.; Rubio, F.; Nortes, P.A.; Mittler, R.; Rivero, R.M. Tolerance to Stress Combination in Tomato Plants: New Insights in the Protective Role of Melatonin. Molecules 2018, 23, 535.

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