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PLoS One. 2018 Sep 25;13(9):e0204033. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204033. eCollection 2018.

Transcriptional profiling reveals that a MYB transcription factor MsMYB4 contributes to the salinity stress response of alfalfa.

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School of Life Science, Qufu Normal University, Qufu, Shandong, P.R.China.


MYB transcription factors are important regulators of the plant response to abiotic stress. Their participation in the salinity stress of the key forage legume species alfalfa (Medicago sativa) was investigated here by comparing the transcriptomes of the two cultivars Dryland (DL) and Sundory (SD), which differed with respect to their ability to tolerate salinity stress. When challenged by the stress, DL plants were better able than SD ones to scavenge reactive oxygen species. A large number of genes encoding transcription regulators, signal transducers and proteins involved in both primary and secondary metabolism were differentially transcribed in the two cultivars, especially when plants were subjected to salinity stress. The set of induced genes included 17 MYB family of transcription factors, all of which were subsequently isolated. The effect of constitutively expressing these genes on the salinity tolerance expressed by Arabidopsis thaliana was investigated. The introduction of MsMYB4 significantly increased the plants' salinity tolerance in an abscisic acid-dependent manner. A sub-cellular localization experiment and a transactivation assay indicated that MsMYB4 was deposited in the nucleus and was able to activate transcription in yeast. Based on this information, we propose that the MsMYB4 products is likely directly involved in alfalfa's response to salinity stress.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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