Mechanical wounding promotes local and long distance response in the halophyte Cakile maritima through the involvement of the ROS and RNS metabolism.
Salt stress is one of the most important abiotic stress factors affecting plant growth and productivity in natural ecosystems. In this study, we aimed at determining possible differences between salt tolerant and salt sensitive species in early (within 72 h) salt stress response in leaves and roots. To this purpose, we subjected three Brassicaceae species, namely two halophytes—Cakile maritima and Thellungiella salsuginea—and a glycophyte—Arabidopsis thaliana— to short-term salt stress (400 mM NaCl). The results indicate that the halophytes showed a differential osmotic and ionic response together with an early and transient oxidative burst, which was characterized by enhanced hydrogen peroxide levels and subsequent activation of antioxidant defenses in both leaves and roots. In addition, the halophytes displayed enhanced accumulation of abscisic acid, jasmonic acid (JA) and ACC (aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid, the precursor of ethylene) in leaves and roots, as compared to A. thaliana under salt stress. Moreover, the halophytes showed enhanced expression of ethylene response factor1 (ERF1), the convergence node of the JA and ethylene signaling pathways in both leaves and roots upon exposure to salt stress. In conclusion, we show that the halophytes C. maritima and T. salsuginea experience an early oxidative burst, improved antioxidant defenses and hormonal response not only in leaves but also in roots, in comparison to the glycophyte A. thaliana. This differential signaling response converging, at least in part, into increased ERF1 expression in both above- and underground tissues seems to underlay, at least in part, the enhanced tolerance of the two studied halophytes to salt stress.