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Genes 2017, 8(10), 242;

Textile Hemp vs. Salinity: Insights from a Targeted Gene Expression Analysis

Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) Department, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), L-4362 Esch/Alzette, Luxembourg
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 19 September 2017 / Accepted: 22 September 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Soil salinity is a serious threat to agriculture, because it compromises biomass production and plant productivity, by negatively affecting the vegetative growth and development of plants. Fiber crops like textile hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) are important natural resources that provide, sustainably, both cellulosic and woody fibers for industry. In this work, the response to salinity (200 mM NaCl) of a fiber variety of hemp (Santhica 27) was studied using quantitative real-time PCR. The responses of plantlets aged 15 days were analyzed by microscopy and by measuring the changes in expression of cell wall-related genes, as well as in the general response to exogenous constraints. The results presented here show that a different response is present in the hemp hypocotyls and leaves. In the leaves, genes coding for heat shock proteins were significantly upregulated, together with a phytohormone-related transcript (ethylene-responsive factor 1 ERF1) and genes involved in secondary cell wall biosynthesis (cellulose synthase CesA4, fasciclin-like arabinogalactan proteins FLA10 and FLA8). Moreover, a tendency towards upregulation was also observed in the leaves for genes involved in lignification (4CL, CAD, PAL); a finding that suggests growth arrest. In the hypocotyl, the genes involved in lignification did not show changes in expression, while a gene related to expansion (expansin EXPA8), as well as transcripts coding for calcium-dependent lipid-binding family proteins (CALB), were upregulated. Microscopic analyses on the hypocotyl cross sections revealed changes in the vascular tissues of salt-exposed plantlets, where the lumen of xylem vessels was reduced. The gene expression results show that a different response is present in the hemp hypocotyls and leaves. The data presented contribute to our understanding of the regulatory gene network in response to salinity in different tissues of an important fiber crop. View Full-Text
Keywords: gene expression; hemp; salinity; bast fibers; cell wall gene expression; hemp; salinity; bast fibers; cell wall

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Guerriero, G.; Behr, M.; Hausman, J.-F.; Legay, S. Textile Hemp vs. Salinity: Insights from a Targeted Gene Expression Analysis. Genes 2017, 8, 242.

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