Authors:P. Poór, P. Borbély, Judit Kovács, Anita Papp, Ágnes Szepesi, Z. Takács and Irma Tari
The plant hormone ethylene or the gaseous signalling molecule nitric oxide (NO) may enhance salt stress tolerance by maintaining ion homeostasis, first of all K+/Na+ ratio of tissues. Ethylene and NO accumulation increased in the root apices and suspension culture cells of tomato at sublethal salt stress caused by 100 mM NaCl, however, the induction phase of programmed cell death (PCD) was different at lethal salt concentration. The production of ethylene by root apices and the accumulation of NO in the cells of suspension culture did not increase during the initiation of PCD after 250 mM NaCl treatment. Moreover, cells in suspension culture accumulated higher amount of reactive oxygen species which, along with NO deficiency contributed to cell death induction. The absence of ethylene in the apical root segments and the absence of NO accumulation in the cell suspension resulted in similar ion disequilibrium, namely K+/Na+ ratio of 1.41 ± 0.1 and 1.68 ± 0.3 in intact plant tissues and suspension culture cells, respectively that was not tolerated by tomato.