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Accession IconSRP042248

Melatonin enhances plant growth and abiotic stress tolerance in soybean plants

Organism Icon Glycine max
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Technology Badge IconIllumina HiSeq 2000

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Melatonin is a well-known agent that plays multiple roles in animals. Its possible function in plants is less clear. In the present study, we tested the effect of melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) on soybean growth and development. Both spraying of leaves and seed-coating with melatonin significantly promoted soybean growth as judged from leaf size and plant height. This enhancement was also observed in soybean production and their fatty acid content. Melatonin increased pod number, seed number and seed weight. However, the 100-seed weight was not influenced by melatonin application. Melatonin also improved soybean tolerance to salt and drought stresses. Transcriptome analysis revealed that melatonin up-regulated the expression of many genes and alleviated the inhibitory effects of salt stress on gene expressions. Further detailed analysis of the affected pathways documents that melatonin likely achieved its promotional roles in soybean through enhancement of genes involved in cell division, photosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, fatty acid biosynthesis and ascorbate metabolism. Our results demonstrate that melatonin has significant potential for improving of soybean growth and seed production. Further study should uncover more about the molecular mechanisms of melatonin’s function in soybeans and other crops. Overall design: Four different treatments were chosen, water, salt, 100µM melatonin and salt plus 100µM melatonin. The comparison of salt/melatonin-treated sample versus water-treated sample reveals salt or melatonin induced transcriptome changes. The comparison of melatonin plus salt treated sample versus salt-treated sample reveals melatonin induced changes when salt exists.
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