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      Exogenous Melatonin Confers Salt Stress Tolerance to Watermelon by Improving Photosynthesis and Redox Homeostasis

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          Abstract

          Melatonin, a pleiotropic signal molecule, has been shown to play important roles in the regulation of plant growth, development, and responses to environmental stresses. Since a few species have been investigated to unveil the effect of exogenous melatonin on salt stress, the underlying mechanism of melatonin-mediated salt stress tolerance in other plant species still remains largely unknown. In this study, the effects of melatonin on leaf photosynthesis and redox homeostasis in watermelon were examined under salt stress (300 mM NaCl) along with different doses of melatonin (50, 150, and 500 μM) pretreatment. NaCl stress inhibited photosynthesis and increased accumulation of reactive oxygen species and membrane damage in leaves of watermelon seedlings. However, pretreatment with melatonin on roots alleviated NaCl-induced decrease in photosynthetic rate and oxidative stress in a dose-dependent manner. The protection of photosynthesis by melatonin was closely associated with the inhibition of stomatal closure and improved light energy absorption and electron transport in photosystem II, while the reduction of oxidative stress by melatonin was attributed to the improved redox homeostasis coupled with the enhanced activities of antioxidant enzymes. This study unraveled crucial role of melatonin in salt stress mitigation and thus can be implicated in the management of salinity in watermelon cultivation.

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          Most cited references32

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          Functions of melatonin in plants: a review.

          The number of studies on melatonin in plants has increased significantly in recent years. This molecule, with a large set of functions in animals, has also shown great potential in plant physiology. This review outlines the main functions of melatonin in the physiology of higher plants. Its role as antistress agent against abiotic stressors, such as drought, salinity, low and high ambient temperatures, UV radiation and toxic chemicals, is analyzed. The latest data on their role in plant-pathogen interactions are also discussed. Both abiotic and biotic stresses produce a significant increase in endogenous melatonin levels, indicating its possible role as effector in these situations. The existence of endogenous circadian rhythms in melatonin levels has been demonstrated in some species, and the data, although limited, suggest a central role of this molecule in the day/night cycles in plants. Finally, another aspect that has led to a large volume of research is the involvement of melatonin in aspects of plant development regulation. Although its role as a plant hormone is still far of from being fully established, its involvement in processes such as growth, rhizogenesis, and photosynthesis seems evident. The multiple changes in gene expression caused by melatonin point to its role as a multiregulatory molecule capable of coordinating many aspects of plant development. This last aspect, together with its role as an alleviating-stressor agent, suggests that melatonin is an excellent prospect for crop improvement.
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            Heat stress: an overview of molecular responses in photosynthesis.

            The primary targets of thermal damage in plants are the oxygen evolving complex along with the associated cofactors in photosystem II (PSII), carbon fixation by Rubisco and the ATP generating system. Recent investigations on the combined action of moderate light intensity and heat stress suggest that moderately high temperatures do not cause serious PSII damage but inhibit the repair of PSII. The latter largely involves de novo synthesis of proteins, particularly the D1 protein of the photosynthetic machinery that is damaged due to generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in the reduction of carbon fixation and oxygen evolution, as well as disruption of the linear electron flow. The attack of ROS during moderate heat stress principally affects the repair system of PSII, but not directly the PSII reaction center (RC). Heat stress additionally induces cleavage and aggregation of RC proteins; the mechanisms of such processes are as yet unclear. On the other hand, membrane linked sensors seem to trigger the accumulation of compatible solutes like glycinebetaine in the neighborhood of PSII membranes. They also induce the expression of stress proteins that alleviate the ROS-mediated inhibition of repair of the stress damaged photosynthetic machinery and are required for the acclimation process. In this review we summarize the recent progress in the studies of molecular mechanisms involved during moderate heat stress on the photosynthetic machinery, especially in PSII.
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              Melatonin: a well-documented antioxidant with conditional pro-oxidant actions.

              Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine), an indoleamine produced in many organs including the pineal gland, was initially characterized as a hormone primarily involved in circadian regulation of physiological and neuroendocrine function. Subsequent studies found that melatonin and its metabolic derivatives possess strong free radical scavenging properties. These metabolites are potent antioxidants against both ROS (reactive oxygen species) and RNS (reactive nitrogen species). The mechanisms by which melatonin and its metabolites protect against free radicals and oxidative stress include direct scavenging of radicals and radical products, induction of the expression of antioxidant enzymes, reduction of the activation of pro-oxidant enzymes, and maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis. In both in vitro and in vivo studies, melatonin has been shown to reduce oxidative damage to lipids, proteins and DNA under a very wide set of conditions where toxic derivatives of oxygen are known to be produced. Although the vast majority of studies proved the antioxidant capacity of melatonin and its derivatives, a few studies using cultured cells found that melatonin promoted the generation of ROS at pharmacological concentrations (μm to mm range) in several tumor and nontumor cells; thus, melatonin functioned as a conditional pro-oxidant. Mechanistically, melatonin may stimulate ROS production through its interaction with calmodulin. Also, melatonin may interact with mitochondrial complex III or mitochondrial transition pore to promote ROS production. Whether melatonin functions as a pro-oxidant under in vivo conditions is not well documented; thus, whether the reported in vitro pro-oxidant actions come into play in live organisms remains to be established. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Plant Sci
                Front Plant Sci
                Front. Plant Sci.
                Frontiers in Plant Science
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-462X
                01 March 2017
                2017
                : 8
                : 295
                Affiliations
                College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University Yangling, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: Haitao Shi, Hainan University, China

                Reviewed by: Ruediger Hardeland, University of Göttingen, Germany; Muhammad Azher Nawaz, University of Sargodha, Pakistan

                This article was submitted to Plant Metabolism and Chemodiversity, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science

                Article
                10.3389/fpls.2017.00295
                5331065
                28298921
                22a09d2c-6f47-4b9b-8006-9b8692ffeffa
                Copyright © 2017 Li, Chang, Chen, Wang, Gu, Wei, Zhang, Ma, Yang and Zhang.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                History
                : 03 January 2017
                : 17 February 2017
                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 46, Pages: 9, Words: 0
                Categories
                Plant Science
                Original Research

                Plant science & Botany
                melatonin,photosynthesis,redox homeostasis,salt stress,watermelon
                Plant science & Botany
                melatonin, photosynthesis, redox homeostasis, salt stress, watermelon

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