Transcriptome analysis of salt stress response in halophyte Atriplex centralasiatica leaves

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As a typical halophyte living in saline environments, Atriplex centralasiatica sequesters excess salt away via metabolically active epidermal bladder cells to prevent salt damage. In the present study, we aimed to screen genes involved in salt excretion, osmotic adjustment and transcriptional regulation in A. centralasiatica leaves by high-throughput RNA sequencing. A. centralasiatica were treated with 300 mM NaCl for 7 days. We found that the volume of bulliform cells of salt bladders was significantly increased, and Na/Cl were accumulated on the surface of salt bladders. Moreover, RNA sequencing revealed that 9144 unigenes were differentially expressed, including 3819 up-regulated unigenes and 5325 down-regulated ones. The gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis showed that several groups of genes were significantly up-regulated under NaCl salt stress, which were associated with ion transport, reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging, abscisic acid (ABA)-dependent signaling pathway and transcription factors. The excessive Na+ and Cl were conveyed into the huge central vacuole by highly expressed sodium/potassium transporters (such as HKT1 and CNGC14). Several candidate genes of ABA-dependent stomatal movements (such as ABI1 and OST1), photosynthesis (such as NPQ2) and ROS (such as TAU 25) pathways were predicted to reduce salt stress-induced damage. Collectively, these above-mentioned results offered valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying the responses of recretohalophyte A. centralasiatica to salt stress.

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Fig. 1
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Data availability

We declare that the all data and materials of this manuscript including the supplementary datasets are available to the journal and all readers.



Epidermal bladder cell


Stalk cell


Differently expressed genes


Abscisic acid


Reactive oxygen species


Scanning electron microscopy


Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy


Fresh weight


Acetone and dimethyl sulfoxide


The NCBI sequence read archive


Basic local alignment search tool


Fragment per kilobase of exon model per million mapped reads


Gene ontology


Transcription factors


Real-time quantitative PCR


Log 2 fold change


Photosystem I






Superoxide dismutase


Ascorbate peroxidase


Glutathione S-transferase


Glutathione peroxidase


Cation potassium channel


Potassium transporter


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This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31470298, 31800185), the Science and Technology Development Foundation of Shandong Province (2014GGH210003) and A Project of Shandong Province Higher Educational Science and Technology Program (J18KA147), Shandong Forestry Science and Technology Innovation Project (LYCX01-2018-01) and Shandong Provincial Agricultural Elite Varieties Project (2019LZGC018).

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Correspondence to Luoyan Zhang or Shoujin Fan.

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Supplementary material 1. Supplemental Fig. 1: The assembled and annotated information of A. centralasiatica transcriptome. (JPEG 4265 kb)

Supplementary material 2. Supplemental Fig. 2: a Expression patterns of DEGs identified between samples treated with 300 mM NaCl and control group. Leaves_salt indicates cells under salt stress of 300 mM NaCl for 7 days; Leaves_control indicates cells cultured under control condition. Red and green dots represent DEGs, and blue dots indicate genes that were not differentially expressed. A total of 9144 unigenes were identified as DEGs (Padj < 0.05) between Leaves_salt and Leaves_control, including 3819 up-regulated genes and 5325 down-regulated genes. b REVIGO analysis results for genes down-regulated in A. centralasiatica. REVIGO web tool chosen with TreeMap view method to cover representative subsets of the GO terms using a simple clustering algorithm that relies on semantic similarity measures. Each rectangle is a single cluster representative. (JPEG 7146 kb)

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Yao, Y., Zhang, X., Wang, N. et al. Transcriptome analysis of salt stress response in halophyte Atriplex centralasiatica leaves. Acta Physiol Plant 42, 3 (2020) doi:10.1007/s11738-019-2989-4

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  • Atriplex centralasiatica
  • Salt stress
  • Transcriptome analysis
  • Salt bladders
  • Halophyte