The IAA17.1/HSFA5a Module Enhances Salt Tolerance in Populus tomentosa by Regulating Flavonol Biosynthesis and ROS Levels in Lateral Roots
Published:03 Dec.2023    Source:New Phytologist
Auxin signaling provides a promising approach to controlling root system architecture and improving stress tolerance in plants. However, how the auxin signaling is transducted in this process remains unclear. The Aux indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) repressor IAA17.1 is stabilized by salinity, and primarily expressed in the lateral root (LR) primordia and tips in poplar.
Overexpression of the auxin-resistant form of IAA17.1 (IAA17.1m) led to growth inhibition of LRs, markedly reduced salt tolerance, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, and decreased flavonol content. We further identified that IAA17.1 can interact with the heat shock protein HSFA5a, which was highly expressed in roots and induced by salt stress. Overexpression of HSFA5a significantly increased flavonol content, reduced ROS accumulation, enhanced LR growth and salt tolerance in transgenic poplar. Moreover, HSFA5a could rescue the defective phenotypes caused by IAA17.1m. Expression analysis showed that genes associated with flavonol biosynthesis were altered in IAA17.1m- and HAFA5a-overexpressing plants.
Furthermore, we identified that HSFA5a directly activated the expression of key enzyme genes in the flavonol biosynthesis pathway, while IAA17.1 suppressed HSFA5a-mediated activation of these genes. Collectively, the IAA17.1/HSFA5a module regulates flavonol biosynthesis, controls ROS accumulation, thereby modulating the root system of poplar to adapt to salt stress.