Functional & Integrative Genomics

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 565–574 | Cite as

Implication of salt stress induces changes in pigment production, antioxidant enzyme activity, and qRT-PCR expression of genes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of Bixa orellana L.

  • M. Sankari
  • H. Hridya
  • P. Sneha
  • C. George Priya Doss
  • J. Godwin Christopher
  • Jill Mathew
  • Hatem Zayed
  • Siva RamamoorthyEmail author
Original Article


The effect of salt stress on pigment synthesis and antioxidant enzyme activity as well as in the genes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of bixin was studied. The 14-day germinated seedlings of Bixa orellana were induced into the various NaCl concentration (0, 25, 50, 75, 100 mM). After 45 days, leaves were taken for pigment analysis, antioxidant assays, and gene expression analysis to study the response of salt stress. The pigment content such as chlorophyll level was increased upon salt stress with a reduction in total carotenoid clearly indicating the adaptability of plants towards the stressed state. The level of β-carotene was increased in the highest concentration of salt stress treatment. The secondary metabolites such as bixin and abscisic acid (ABA) content were also high in elevated concentration of salt-treated seedling than control. The antioxidant enzyme activity was increased with the highest dose of salt stress suggesting the antioxidant enzymes to protect the plant from the deleterious effects. The mRNA transcript gene of the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway such as phytoene synthase (PSY), 1-deoxyxylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXS), phytoene desaturase (PDS), beta-lycopene cyclase (LCY-β), epsilon lycopene cyclase (LCY-ε), carboxyl methyl transferase (CMT), aldehyde dehydrogenase (ADH), lycopene cleavage dioxygenase (LCD), and carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase (CCD) showed differential expression pattern under salt stress. In addendum, we studied the co-expression network analysis of gene to assess the co-related genes associated in the biosynthesis pathway of carotenoid. From the co-expression analysis result showed, the LCY, PDS, and PSY genes were closely correlated with other genes. These finding may provide insight to the plants to exist in the stress condition and to improve the industrially important pigment production.


Bixa orellana Salt stress Antioxidant defense activity Gene expression Bixin biosynthesis 



1-deoxy xylulose-5-phosphate synthase


Phytoene synthase


Phytoene desaturase


Lycopene epsilon cyclase




Lycopene cleavage dioxygenase


Aldehyde dehydrogenase


Carboxyl methyltransferase


Carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase



The authors thank the Vellore Institute of Technology management and their seed grant for carrying out this research work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Sankari
    • 1
  • H. Hridya
    • 2
  • P. Sneha
    • 1
  • C. George Priya Doss
    • 1
  • J. Godwin Christopher
    • 1
  • Jill Mathew
    • 1
  • Hatem Zayed
    • 3
  • Siva Ramamoorthy
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of BioSciences and TechnologyVITVelloreIndia
  2. 2.Muga silkworm seed organisationCentral Silk BoardGuwahatiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health SciencesQatar UniversityDohaQatar

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