Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis mitigates the negative effects of salinity on durum wheat.PLoS One. 2017; 12(9):e0184158.Plos
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is generally considered to be effective in ameliorating the plant tolerance to salt stress. Unfortunately, the comprehension of the mechanisms implicated in salinity stress alleviation by AM symbiosis is far from being complete. Thus, an experiment was performed by growing durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) plants under salt-stress conditions to evaluate the influence of AM symbiosis on both the plant growth and the regulation of a number of genes related to salt stress and nutrient uptake. Durum wheat plants were grown outdoors in pots in absence or in presence of salt stress and with or without AM fungi inoculation. The inoculum consisted of a mixture of spores of Rhizophagus irregularis (formerly Glomus intraradices) and Funneliformis mosseae (formerly G. mosseae). Results indicate that AM symbiosis can alleviate the detrimental effects of salt stress on the growth of durum wheat plants. In fact, under salt stress conditions mycorrhizal plants produced more aboveground and root biomass, had higher N uptake and aboveground N concentration, and showed greater stability of plasma membranes compared to non-mycorrhizal plants. Inoculation with AM fungi had no effect on the expression of the N transporter genes AMT1.1, AMT1.2, and NAR2.2, either under no-stress or salt stress conditions, probably due to the fact that plants were grown under optimal N conditions; on the contrary, NRT1.1 was always upregulated by AM symbiosis. Moreover, the level of expression of the drought stress-related genes AQP1, AQP4, PIP1, DREB5, and DHN15.3 observed in the mycorrhizal stressed plants was markedly lower than that observed in the non-mycorrhizal stressed plants and very close to that observed in the non-stressed plants. Our hypothesis is that, in the present study, AM symbiosis did not increase the plant tolerance to salt stress but instead generated a condition in which plants were subjected to a level of salt stress lower than that of non-mycorrhizal plants.