A proteomics approach to study the molecular basis of enhanced salt tolerance in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) conferred by the root mutualistic fungus Piriformospora indica

Mehdi Alikhani, Behnam Khatabi, Mozhgan Sepehri, Mojtaba Khayam Nekouei, Mohsen Mardi, Ghasem Hosseini Salekdeh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


Piriformospora indica is a root-interacting mutualistic fungus capable of enhancing plant growth, increasing plant resistance to a wide variety of pathogens, and improving plant stress tolerance under extreme environmental conditions. Understanding the molecular mechanisms by which P. indica can improve plant tolerance to stresses will pave the way to identifying the major mechanisms underlying plant adaptability to environmental stresses. We conducted greenhouse experiments at three different salt levels (0, 100 and 300 mM NaCl) on barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cultivar "Pallas" inoculated with P. indica. Based on the analysis of variance, P. indica had a significant impact on the barley growth and shoot biomass under normal and salt stress conditions. P. indica modulated ion accumulation in colonized plants by increasing the foliar potassium (K+)/sodium (Na+) ratio, as it is considered a reliable indicator of salt stress tolerance. P. indica induced calcium (Ca 2+) accumulation and likely influenced the stress signal transduction. Subsequently, proteomic analysis of the barley leaf sheath using two-dimensional electrophoresis resulted in detection of 968 protein spots. Of these detected spots, the abundance of 72 protein spots changed significantly in response to salt treatment and P. indica-root colonization. Mass spectrometry analysis of responsive proteins led to the identification of 51 proteins. These proteins belonged to different functional categories including photosynthesis, cell antioxidant defense, protein translation and degradation, energy production, signal transduction and cell wall arrangement. Our results showed that P. indica induced a systemic response to salt stress by altering the physiological and proteome responses of the plant host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1498-1510
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular BioSystems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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