Defining the cell wall, cell cycle and chromatin landmarks in the responses of brachypodium distachyon to salinity

Elzbieta Wolny*, Aleksandra Skalska, Agnieszka Braszewska, Luis A.J. Mur, Robert Hasterok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
151 Downloads (Pure)


Excess salinity is a major stress that limits crop yields. Here, we used the model grass Brachypodium distachyon (Brachypodium) reference line Bd21 in order to define the key molecular events in the responses to salt during germination. Salt was applied either throughout the germination period (“salt stress”) or only after root emergence (“salt shock”). Germination was affected at ≥100 mM and root elongation at ≥75 mM NaCl. The expression of arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs), FLA1, FLA10, FLA11, AGP20 and AGP26, which regulate cell wall expansion (especially FLA11), were mostly induced by the “salt stress” but to a lesser extent by “salt shock”. Cytological assessment using two AGP epitopes, JIM8 and JIM13 indicated that “salt stress” increases the fluorescence signals in rhizodermal and exodermal cell wall. Cell division was suppressed at >75 mM NaCl. The cell cycle genes (CDKB1, CDKB2, CYCA3, CYCB1, WEE1) were induced by “salt stress” in a concentration-dependent manner but not CDKA, CYCA and CYCLIN-D4-1-RELATED. Under “salt shock”, the cell cycle genes were optimally expressed at 100 mM NaCl. These changes were consistent with the cell cycle arrest, possibly at the G1 phase. The salt-induced genomic damage was linked with the oxidative events via an increased glutathione accumulation. Histone acetylation and methylation and DNA methylation were visualized by immunofluorescence. Histone H4 acetylation at lysine 5 increased strongly whereas DNA methylation decreased with the application of salt. Taken together, we suggest that salt-induced oxidative stress causes genomic damage but that it also has epigenetic effects, which might modulate the cell cycle and AGP expression gene. Based on these landmarks, we aim to encourage functional genomics studies on the responses of Brachypodium to salt.

Original languageEnglish
Article number949
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2021


  • Brachypodium distachyon
  • Cell cycle
  • Epigenetics
  • Germination
  • Replication
  • Salt stress
  • DNA Replication/drug effects
  • Salt Stress/genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant/drug effects
  • Cell Cycle/drug effects
  • Plant Roots/drug effects
  • Epigenesis, Genetic/drug effects
  • Salinity
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly/drug effects
  • Brachypodium/cytology
  • Mucoproteins/genetics
  • Plant Proteins/genetics
  • Mitosis/drug effects
  • Germination/drug effects
  • Sodium Chloride/pharmacology
  • Cell Wall/drug effects


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