Enzymatic regulation of organic acid metabolism in an alkali-tolerant halophyte Chloris virgata during response to salt and alkali stresses
Chloris virgata, an alkali-tolerant halophyte, was chosen as the test material for our research. The seedlings of C. virgata were treated with varying salt and alkali stress. First, the composition and content of organic acids in shoots were analyzed and the results indicated that there was not only a significant increase in total organic acids, but there were also obvious changes in different components of organic acids under alkali stress. The increments in citrate were the largest, followed by malate. However, none of the organic acids showed significant alterations in the content and components under salt stress. Also, activity of some enzymes (citrate synthase, malate synthase, NADP-isocitrate dehydrogenase, and isocitrate lyase) associated with such organic acids did not change significantly under alkali stress, but malate dehydrogenase activity markedly decreased under a stronger alkali stress (80 mM). Under salt stress as well as increased malate synthase (MS) activity, however, there was no significant change for other enzymes. These results strongly demonstrated that the enzymatic regulation of organic acid metabolism may be the biochemical basis of alkali tolerance for C. virgata. Citrate synthase (CS), MS and isocitrate lyase (ICL) might be the key enzymes that determine the alkali tolerance of C. virgata.
Keywords: Salinity, ion balance, enzyme activity, Chloris virgata