Thiourea priming enhances salt tolerance through co-ordinated regulation of microRNAs and hormones in Brassica juncea

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Scientific Reports, 2017, 7
Issue Date:
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© 2017 The Author(s). Activation of stress tolerance mechanisms demands transcriptional reprogramming. Salt stress, a major threat to plant growth, enhances ROS production and affects transcription through modulation of miRNAs and hormones. The present study delineates salt stress ameliorating action of thiourea (TU, a ROS scavenger) in Brassica juncea and provides mechanistic link between redox, microRNA and hormones. The ameliorative potential of TU towards NaCl stress was related with its ability to decrease ROS accumulation in roots and increase Na+ accumulation in shoots. Small RNA sequencing revealed enrichment of down-regulated miRNAs in NaCl + TU treated roots, indicating transcriptional activation. Ranking analysis identified three key genes including BRX4, CBL10 and PHO1, showing inverse relationship with corresponding miRNA expression, which were responsible for TU mediated stress mitigation. Additionally, ABA level was consistently higher till 24 h in NaCl, while NaCl + TU treated roots showed only transient increase at 4 h suggesting an effective stress management. Jasmonate and auxin levels were also increased, which prioritized defence and facilitated root growth, respectively. Thus, the study highlights redox as one of the "core" components regulating miRNA and hormone levels, and also strengthens the use of TU as a redox priming agent for imparting crop resilience to salt stress.
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