Melatonin promotes cucumber seed germination under high salinity. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Melatonin promotes seed germination under high salinity by regulating antioxidant systems, ABA and GA₄ interaction in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.).
J Pineal Res. 2014 Oct ;57(3):269-79. Epub 2014 Sep 9. PMID: 25112973
Although previous studies have found that melatonin can promote seed germination, the mechanisms involved in perceiving and signaling melatonin remain poorly understood. In this study, it was found that melatonin was synthesized during cucumber seed germination with a peak in melatonin levels occurring 14 hr into germination. This is indicative of a correlation between melatonin synthesis and seed germination. Meanwhile, seeds pretreated with exogenous melatonin (1μM) showed enhanced germination rates under 150 mM NaCl stress compared to water-pretreated seeds under salinity stress. There are two apparent mechanisms by which melatonin alleviated salinity-induced inhibition of seed germination. Exogenous melatonin decreased oxidative damage induced by NaCl stress by enhancing gene expression of antioxidants. Under NaCl stress, compared to untreated control, the activities of antioxidant enzymes including superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and peroxidase (POD) were significantly increased by approximately 1.3-5.0-fold, with a concomitant 1.4-2.0-fold increase of CsCu-ZnSOD, CsFe-ZnSOD, CsCAT, and CsPOD in melatonin-pretreated seeds. Melatonin also alleviated salinity stress by affecting abscisic acid (ABA) and gibberellin acid (GA) biosynthesis and catabolism during seed germination. Compared to NaCl treatment, melatonin significantly up-regulated ABA catabolism genes (e.g., CsCYP707A1 and CsCYP707A2, 3.5 and 105-fold higher than NaCl treatment at 16 hr, respectively) and down-regulated ABA biosynthesis genes (e.g., CsNECD2, 0.29-fold of CK2 at 16 hr), resulting in a rapid decrease of ABA content during the early stage of germination. At the same time, melatonin positively up-regulated GA biosynthesis genes (e.g., GA20ox and GA3ox, 2.3 and 3.9-fold higher than NaCl treatment at 0 and 12 hr, respectively), contributing to a significant increase of GA (especially GA4) content. In this study, we provide new evidence suggesting that melatonin alleviates the inhibitory effects of NaCl stress on germination mainly by regulating the biosynthesis and catabolism of ABA and GA4.