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J Exp Bot. 2015 Feb;66(3):695-707. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eru392. Epub 2014 Oct 7.

Melatonin enhances plant growth and abiotic stress tolerance in soybean plants.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chaoyang District, Beichen West Road, Campus #1, No.2, Beijing 100101, China.
2
Beijing Key Laboratory of Genome and Precision Medicine Technologies, The DNA Sequencing Technologies R&D Center, Beijing Institute of Genomics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chaoyang District, Beichen West Road, Campus #1, No.7, Beijing 100101, China.
3
Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas 78229-3900, USA.
4
Institute of Crop and Nuclear Technology Utilization, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shiqiao Road No.198, Hangzhou City 310021, China.
5
State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chaoyang District, Beichen West Road, Campus #1, No.2, Beijing 100101, China sychen@genetics.ac.cn jszhang@genetics.ac.cn.

Abstract

Melatonin is a well-known agent that plays multiple roles in animals. Its possible function in plants is less clear. In the present study, we tested the effect of melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) on soybean growth and development. Coating seeds with melatonin significantly promoted soybean growth as judged from leaf size and plant height. This enhancement was also observed in soybean production and their fatty acid content. Melatonin increased pod number and seed number, but not 100-seed weight. Melatonin also improved soybean tolerance to salt and drought stresses. Transcriptome analysis revealed that salt stress inhibited expressions of genes related to binding, oxidoreductase activity/process, and secondary metabolic processes. Melatonin up-regulated expressions of the genes inhibited by salt stress, and hence alleviated the inhibitory effects of salt stress on gene expressions. Further detailed analysis of the affected pathways documents that melatonin probably achieved its promotional roles in soybean through enhancement of genes involved in cell division, photosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, fatty acid biosynthesis, and ascorbate metabolism. Our results demonstrate that melatonin has significant potential for improvement of soybean growth and seed production. Further study should uncover more about the molecular mechanisms of melatonin's function in soybeans and other crops.

KEYWORDS:

Melatonin; soybean; stress tolerance; transcriptome.; yield increase

PMID:
25297548
PMCID:
PMC4321538
DOI:
10.1093/jxb/eru392
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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