Comparative proteomics and gene expression analyses revealed responsive proteins and mechanisms for salt tolerance in chickpea genotypes

Mohammad Arefian, Saeedreza Vessal, Saeid Malekzadeh-Shafaroudi, Kadambot H.M. Siddique, Abdolreza Bagheri

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Salinity is a major abiotic stress that limits the growth, productivity, and geographical distribution of plants. A comparative proteomics and gene expression analysis was performed to better understand salinity tolerance mechanisms in chickpea. Results: Ten days of NaCl treatments resulted in the differential expression of 364 reproducible spots in seedlings of two contrasting chickpea genotypes, Flip 97-43c (salt tolerant, T1) and Flip 97-196c (salt susceptible, S1). Notably, after 3 days of salinity, 80% of the identified proteins in T1 were upregulated, while only 41% in S2 had higher expression than the controls. The proteins were classified into eight functional categories, and three groups of co-expression profile. The second co-expressed group of proteins had higher and/or stable expression in T1, relative to S2, suggesting coordinated regulation and the importance of some processes involved in salinity acclimation. This group was mainly enriched in proteins associated with photosynthesis (39%; viz. chlorophyll a-b binding protein, oxygen-evolving enhancer protein, ATP synthase, RuBisCO subunits, carbonic anhydrase, and fructose-bisphosphate aldolase), stress responsiveness (21%; viz. heat shock 70 kDa protein, 20 kDa chaperonin, LEA-2 and ascorbate peroxidase), and protein synthesis and degradation (14%; viz. zinc metalloprotease FTSH 2 and elongation factor Tu). Thus, the levels and/or early and late responses in the activation of targeted proteins explained the variation in salinity tolerance between genotypes. Furthermore, T1 recorded more correlations between the targeted transcripts and their corresponding protein expression profiles than S2. Conclusions: This study provides insight into the proteomic basis of a salt-tolerance mechanism in chickpea, and offers unexpected and poorly understood molecular resources as reliable starting points for further dissection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number300
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2019


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