Salt stress in plants triggers complex physiological responses that are genotype specific. Many of these responses are either not yet described or not fully understood or both. In this work, we phenotyped three maize genotypes of the CIMMYT gene bank alongside the reference B73 genotype (NCRPIS – United States) under both control and salt-stressed conditions. We have ranked their growth potential and we observed significant differences in Na+ and Cl– ion accumulation. Genotype CML421 showed the slowest growth, while CML451 had the lowest accumulation of ions in its leaves. The phenotyping defined the right timing for the proteomics analysis, allowing us to compare the contrasting genotypes. In general 1,747 proteins were identified, of which 209 were significantly more abundant in response to salt stress. The five most significantly enriched annotations that positively correlated with stress were oxidation reduction, catabolic process, response to chemical stimulus, translational elongation and response to water. We observed a higher abundance of proteins involved in reactions to oxidative stress, dehydration, respiration, and translation. The five most significantly enriched annotations negatively correlated with stress were nucleosome organization, chromatin assembly, protein-DNA complex assembly, DNA packaging and nucleosome assembly. The genotypic analysis revealed 52 proteins that were correlated to the slow-growing genotype CML421. Their annotations point toward cellular dehydration and oxidative stress. Three root proteins correlated to the CML451 genotype were annotated to protein synthesis and ion compartmentalization. In conclusion, our results highlight the importance of the anti-oxidative system for acclimatization to salt stress and identify potential genotypic marker proteins involved in salt-stress responses.
Genotype-specific growth and proteomic responses of maize toward salt stress