High salt stress induces swollen prothylakoids in dark-grown wheat and alters both prolamellar body transformation and reformation after irradiation

Amal F. Abdelkader, Henrik Aronsson, Katalin Solymosi, Bela Böddi, Christer Sundqvist

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High salinity causes ion imbalance and osmotic stress in plants. Leaf sections from 8-d-old dark-grown wheat (Triticum aestivum cv. Giza 168) were exposed to high salt stress (600 mM) and the native arrangements of plastid pigments together with the ultrastructure of the plastids were studied using low-temperature fluorescence spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Although plastids from salt-treated leaves had highly swollen prothylakoids (PTs) the prolamellar bodies (PLBs) were regular. Accordingly, a slight intensity decrease of the short-wavelength protochlorophyllide (Pchlide) form was observed, but no change was found in the long-wavelength Pchlide form emitting at 656 nm. After irradiation, newly formed swollen thylakoids showed traversing stromal strands. The PLB dispersal was partly inhibited and remnants of the PLBs formed an electron-dense structure, which remained after prolonged (8 h) irradiation. The difference in fluorescence emission maximum of the main chlorophyll form in salt-stressed leaves (681 nm) and in control leaves (683 nm) indicated a restrained formation of the photosynthetic apparatus. Overall chlorophyll accumulation during prolonged irradiation was inhibited. Salt-stressed leaves returned to darkness after 3 h of irradiation had, compared with the control, a reduced amount of Pchlide and reduced re-formation of regular net-like PLBs. Instead, the size of the electron-dense structures increased. This study reports, for the first time, the salt-induced swelling of PTs and reveals traversing stromal strands in newly formed thylakoids. Although the PLBs were intact and the Pchlide fluorescence emission spectra appeared normal after salt stress in darkness, plastid development to chloroplasts was highly restricted during irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2553-2564
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - aug. 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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