Toward Unravelling the Genetic Determinism of the Acquisition of Salt and Osmotic Stress Tolerance Through In Vitro Selection in Medicago truncatula



Elmaghrabi AM, Rogers HJ, Francis D, Ochatt S.


Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1822:291-314. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-8633-0_19.


Changes in global climate and the nonstop increase in demographic pressure have provoked a stronger demand for agronomic resources at a time where land suitable for agriculture is becoming a rare commodity. They have also generated a number of abiotic stresses which exacerbate effects of diseases and pests and result in physiological and metabolic disorders that ultimately impact on yield when and where it is most needed. Therefore, a major scientific and agronomic challenge today is that of understanding and countering the impact of stress on yield. In this respect, in vitro biotechnology would be an efficient and feasible breeding alternative, particularly now that the genetic and genomic tools needed to unravel the mechanisms underlying the acquisition of tolerance to stress have become available. Legumes in general play a central role in a sustainable agriculture due to their capacity to symbiotically fix the atmospheric nitrogen, thereby reducing the need for fertilizers. They also produce grains that are rich in protein and thus are important as food and feed. However, they also suffer from abiotic stresses in general and osmotic stress and salinity in particular. This chapter provides a detailed overview of the methods employed for in vitro selection in the model legume Medicago truncatula for the generation of novel germplasm capable of resisting NaCl- and PEG-induced osmotic stress. We also address the understanding of the genetic determinism in the acquisition of stress resistance, which differs between NaCl and PEG. Thus, the expression of genes linked to growth (WEE1), in vitro embryogenesis (SERK), salt tolerance (SOS1) proline synthesis (P5CS), and ploidy level and cell cycle (CCS52 and WEE1) was upregulated under NaCl stress, while under PEG treatment the expression of MtWEE1 and MtCCS52 was significantly increased, but no significant differences were observed in the expression of genes MtSERK1 and MtP5CS, and MtSOS1 was downregulated. A number of morphological and physiological traits relevant to the acquisition of stress resistance were also assessed, and methods used to do so are also detailed.

Keywords: .

Link/DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4939-8633-0_19