Melatonin and serotonin are well-known signaling molecules that mediate multiple physiological activities in plants. Identification of the response mechanisms of plants to melatonin and serotonin is important to help formulate strategies for crop improvement.
Researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) compared the physiological responses of Arabidopsis to exogenous melatonin and serotonin. They investigated the molecular mechanisms responsible for melatonin- and serotonin-mediated metabolism and pathogen resistance using a combination of transcriptome and physiological analyses.
They found that moderate concentrations of melatonin and serotonin did not affect primary root (PR) growth but markedly induced lateral root (LR) formation. Both melatonin and serotonin markedly induced the expression of many Fe deficiency-responsive genes under normal growth conditions.
Further physiological analysis indicated that exogenous melatonin and serotonin alleviate Fe deficiency-induced leaf chlorosis and Fe accumulation in leaves. Melatonin and serotonin also improve photosynthesis and Fe deficiency tolerance.
“Our findings indicate that melatonin and serotonin improve tolerance to Fe deficiency in plants” said Prof. XU Jin, principal investigator of the study.
“Our results provide a basis for further elucidating the molecular mechanisms of melatonin- and serotonin-mediated plant growth, development, and defense and provide insight into novel strategies for crop production using these two plant growth regulators”, said XU.
The study entitled “Comparative physiological responses and transcriptome analysis reveal the roles of melatonin and serotonin in regulating growth and metabolism in Arabidopsis” has been published in BMC Plant Biology.
XU Jin, Ph.D Principal Investigator
Key Laboratory of Tropical Plant Resources and Sustainable Use, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun 666303, Yunnan, China
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