The relationship between citrulline accumulation and salt tolerance during the vegetative growth of melon (Cucumis melo L.)

https://doi.org/10.17221/316-PSECitation:Dasgan H.Y., Kusvuran S., Abak K., Leport L., Larher F., Bouchereau A. (2009): The relationship between citrulline accumulation and salt tolerance during the vegetative growth of melon (Cucumis melo L.). Plant Soil Environ., 55: 51-57.
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Citrulline has been recently shown to behave as a novel compatible solute in the Citrullus lanatus (Cucurbitaceae) growing under desert conditions. In the present study we have investigated some aspects of the relationship which might occur in leaves of melon seedlings, also known to produce citrulline, between the capacity to accumulate this ureido amino acid and salt tolerance. With this end in view, salt-induced changes at the citrulline level have been compared in two melon genotypes exhibiting contrasted abilities to withstand the damaging effects of high salinity. Progressive salinization of the growing solution occurred at 23 days after sowing. The final 250 mmol/l external NaCl concentration was reached within 5 days and further maintained for 16 days. In response to this treatment, it was found that the citrulline amount increased in fully expanded leaves of both genotypes according to different kinetics. The salt tolerant genotype Midyat was induced to accumulate citrulline 4 days before the salt sensitive Yuva and as a consequence the final amount of this amino acid was twice higher in the former than in the latter. Compared with citrulline, the free proline level was found to be relatively low and the changes induced in response to the salt treatment exhibited different trends according to the genotypes under study. Thus at the end of the treatment mature leaves of the salt sensitive Yuva contained higher amount of proline than those of Midyat. The changes in the calculated molar ratio between citrulline and free proline suggested that salt tolerance might be associated with high values for this ratio and vice et versa for sensitivity. The interest of citrulline as a biochemical marker for salt tolerance of melon genotypes is discussed.
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