High salinity impacts germination of the halophyte Cakile maritima but primes seeds for rapid germination upon stress release

authored by
Ahmed Debez, Ikram Belghith, Andreas Pich, Wael Taamalli, Chedly Abdelly, Hans Peter Braun

Seed germination recovery aptitude is an adaptive trait of overriding significance for the successful establishment and dispersal of extremophile plants in their native ecosystems. Cakile maritima is an annual halophyte frequent on Mediterranean coasts, which produces transiently dormant seeds under high salinity, that germinate fast when soil salinity is lowered by rainfall. Here, we report ecophysiological and proteomic data about (1) the effect of high salt (200 mM NaCl) on the early developmental stages (germination and seedling) and (2) the seed germination recovery capacity of this species. Upon salt exposure, seed germination was severely inhibited and delayed and seedling length was restricted. Interestingly, non-germinated seeds remained viable, showing high germination percentage and faster germination than the control seeds after their transfer onto distilled water. The plant phenotypic plasticity during germination was better highlighted by the proteomic data. Salt exposure triggered (1) a marked slower degradation of seed storage reserves and (2) a significant lower abundance of proteins involved in several biological processes (primary metabolism, energy, stress-response, folding and stability). Yet, these proteins showed strong increased abundance early after stress release, thereby sustaining the faster seed storage proteins mobilization under recovery conditions compared to the control. Overall, as part of the plant survival strategy, C. maritima seems to avoid germination and establishment under high salinity. However, this harsh condition may have a priming-like effect, boosting seed germination and vigor under post-stress conditions, sustained by active metabolic machinery.

Institute of Plant Genetics
External Organisation(s)
Center of Biotechnology of Borj Cedria (CBBC)
Hannover Medical School (MHH)
Physiologia plantarum
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Physiology, Genetics, Plant Science, Cell Biology
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 15 - Life on Land
Electronic version(s)
https://doi.org/10.1111/ppl.12679 (Access: Closed)