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Open AccessArticle

The γ-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Alleviates Salt Stress Damage during Seeds Germination of White Clover Associated with Na+/K+ Transportation, Dehydrins Accumulation, and Stress-Related Genes Expression in White Clover

Department of Grassland Science, College of Animal Science and Technology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2520; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092520
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 12 August 2018 / Accepted: 14 August 2018 / Published: 25 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seed Development, Dormancy and Germination)
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of soaking with γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on white clover (Trifolium repens cv. Haifa) seed germination under salt stress induced by 100 mM NaCl. Seeds soaking with GABA (1 μM) significantly alleviated salt-induced decreases in endogenous GABA content, germination percentage, germination vigor, germination index, shoot and root length, fresh and dry weight, and root activity of seedling during seven days of germination. Exogenous application of GABA accelerated starch catabolism via the activation of amylase and also significantly reduced water-soluble carbohydrate, free amino acid, and free proline content in seedlings under salt stress. In addition, improved antioxidant enzyme activities (SOD, GPOX, CAT, APX, DHAR, GR and MDHR) and gene transcript levels (Cu/ZnSOD, FeSOD, MnSOD, CAT, GPOX, APX, MDHR, GPX and GST) was induced by seeds soaking with GABA, followed by decreases in O2∙−, H2O2, and MDA accumulation during germination under salt stress. Seeds soaking with GABA could also significantly improve Na+/K+ content and transcript levels of genes encoding Na+/K+ transportation (HKT1, HKT8, HAL2, H+-ATPase and SOS1) in seedlings of white clover. Moreover, exogenous GABA significantly induced the accumulation of dehydrins and expression of genes encoding dehydrins (SK2, Y2K, Y2SK, and dehydrin b) in seedlings under salt stress. These results indicate that GABA mitigates the salt damage during seeds germination through enhancing starch catabolism and the utilization of sugar and amino acids for the maintenance of growth, improving the antioxidant defense for the alleviation of oxidative damage, increasing Na+/K+ transportation for the osmotic adjustment, and promoting dehydrins accumulation for antioxidant and osmotic adjustment under salt stress. View Full-Text
Keywords: growth; osmotic adjustment; metabolism; dehydrins; antioxidant; transcript growth; osmotic adjustment; metabolism; dehydrins; antioxidant; transcript
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Cheng, B.; Li, Z.; Liang, L.; Cao, Y.; Zeng, W.; Zhang, X.; Ma, X.; Huang, L.; Nie, G.; Liu, W.; Peng, Y. The γ-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Alleviates Salt Stress Damage during Seeds Germination of White Clover Associated with Na+/K+ Transportation, Dehydrins Accumulation, and Stress-Related Genes Expression in White Clover. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 2520.

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