Sex-specific responses and tolerances of Populus cathayana to salinity.Physiol Plant. 2010 Oct; 140(2):163-73.PP
Responses of males and females to salinity were studied in order to reveal sex-specific adaptation and evolution in Populus cathayana Rehd cuttings. This dioecious tree species plays an important role in maintaining ecological stability and providing commercial raw material in southwest China. Female and male cuttings of P. cathayana were treated for about 1 month with 0, 75 and 150 mM NaCl. Plant growth traits, gas exchange parameters, chlorophyll pigments, intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi), membrane system injuries, ion transport and ultrastructural morphology were assessed and compared between sexes. Salt stress caused less negative effects on the dry matter accumulation, growth rate of height, growth rate of stem base diameter, total number of leaves and photosynthetic abilities in males than in females. Relative electrolyte leakage increased more in females than in males under salinity stress. Soil salinity reduced the amounts of leaf chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and total chlorophyll, and the chlorophyll a/b ratio more in females than in males. WUEi decreased in both sexes under salinity. Regarding the ultrastructural morphology, thylakoid swelling in chloroplasts and degrading structures in mitochondria were more frequent in females than in males. Moreover, females exhibited significantly higher Na(+) and Cl(-) concentrations in leaves and stems, but lower concentrations in roots than did males under salinity. In all, female cuttings of P. cathayana are more sensitive to salinity stress than males, which could be partially due to males having a better ability to restrain Na(+) transport from roots to shoots than do females.