Salinity represents a very limiting factor that affects the fertility of agricultural soils. Although grapevine is moderately susceptible to salinity, both natural causes and agricultural practices could worsen the impact of this abiotic stress. A promising possibility to reduce this problem in vineyards is the use of appropriate graft combinations. The responses of grapevine rootstocks to this abiotic stress at the root level still remain poorly investigated. In order to obtain further information on the multifaceted responses induced by salt stress at the biochemical level, in the present work we analyzed the changes that occurred under control and salt conditions in the root proteomes of two grapevine rootstock genotypes, M4 and 101.14. Moreover, we compared the results considering that M4 and 101.14 were previously described to have lower and higher susceptibility to salt stress, respectively. This study highlighted the greater capability of M4 to maintain and adapt energy metabolism (i.e., synthesis of ATP and NAD(P)H) and to sustain the activation of salt-protective mechanisms (i.e., Na sequestration into the vacuole and synthesis of osmoprotectant compounds). Comparitively, in 101.14 the energy metabolism was deeply affected and there was an evident induction of the enzymatic antioxidant system that occurred, pointing to a metabolic scenario typical of a suffering tissue. Overall, this study describes for the first time in grapevine roots some of the more crucial events that characterize positive (M4) or negative (101.14) responses evoked by salt stress conditions.
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