Photosynthesis in Salt-Adapted Heterotrophic Tobacco Cells and Regenerated Plants.


Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) cells growing heterotrophically in the light on supplied sucrose (S0) have previously been adapted to grow in 428 mM NaCl (S25). Among the changes occurring in salinity-adapted cell cultures are (a) elevated levels of chlorophyll compared to unadapted cells; (b) decreased levels of starch; (c) alterations in chloroplast ultrastructure, including loss of starch grains, increased thylakoid membrane structure, and the presence of plastoglobules; and (d) increased rates of O2 evolution, CO2 fixation, and photophosphorylation relative to S0 cells. These latter changes apparently derive from the fact that thylakoid membranes in S25 cells contain higher levels of photosystem I- and II-associated proteins as well as thylakoid ATPase components. S25 chloroplasts contain immunologically detectable levels of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase, whereas S0 completely lack the enzyme. These changes taken together suggest that even in the presence of sucrose, S25 cells have acquired a significant degree of salt-tolerant photosynthetic competence. This salt-tolerant photoysynthetic capability manifests itself in plants backcrossed with normal plants for three generations. These plants contain chloroplasts that demonstrate in vitro more salt-tolerant CO2 fixation, O2 evolution, and photophosphorylation than do backcross progeny of plants regenerated from S0 cultures.

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