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J Exp Bot. 2017 Dec 16;68(21-22):5961-5976. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erx388.

Metabolite profiling at the cellular and subcellular level reveals metabolites associated with salinity tolerance in sugar beet.

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Department of Biochemistry and Physiology of Plants, Faculty of Biology, Bielefeld University, Universitätsstr.25, Germany.
Center for Biotechnology-CeBiTec, Bielefeld University, Universitätsstr. Germany.
Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Zagazig University, Egypt.


Sugar beet is among the most salt-tolerant crops. This study aimed to investigate the metabolic adaptation of sugar beet to salt stress at the cellular and subcellular levels. Seedlings were grown hydroponically and subjected to stepwise increases in salt stress up to 300 mM NaCl. Highly enriched fractions of chloroplasts were obtained by non-aqueous fractionation using organic solvents. Total leaf metabolites and metabolites in chloroplasts were profiled at 3 h and 14 d after reaching the maximum salinity stress of 300 mM NaCl. Metabolite profiling by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) resulted in the identification of a total of 83 metabolites in leaves and chloroplasts under control and stress conditions. There was a lower abundance of Calvin cycle metabolites under salinity whereas there was a higher abundance of oxidative pentose phosphate cycle metabolites such as 6-phosphogluconate. Accumulation of ribose-5-phosphate and ribulose-5-phosphate coincided with limitation of carbon fixation by ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco). Increases in glycolate and serine levels indicated that photorespiratory metabolism was stimulated in salt-stressed sugar beet. Compatible solutes such as proline, mannitol, and putrescine accumulated mostly outside the chloroplasts. Within the chloroplast, putrescine had the highest relative level and probably assisted in the acclimation of sugar beet to high salinity stress. The results provide new information on the contribution of chloroplasts and the extra-chloroplast space to salinity tolerance via metabolic adjustment in sugar beet.


Chloroplast; metabolite profiling; non-aqueous fractionation; photosynthesis; salinity stress; sugar beet

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