A genome-wide expression profile of salt-responsive genes in the apple rootstock Malus zumi

Qingtian Li, Jia Liu, Dunxian Tan, Andrew C. Allan, Yuzhuang Jiang, Xuefeng Xu, Zhenhai Han, Jin Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In some areas of cultivation, a lack of salt tolerance severely affects plant productivity. Apple, Malus x domestica Borkh., is sensitive to salt, and, as a perennial woody plant the mechanism of salt stress adaption will be different from that of annual herbal model plants, such as Arabidopsis. Malus zumi is a salt tolerant apple rootstock, which survives high salinity (up to 0.6% NaCl). To examine the mechanism underlying this tolerance, a genome-wide expression analysis was performed, using a cDNA library constructed from salt-treated seedlings of Malus zumi. A total of 15,000 cDNA clones were selected for microarray analysis. In total a group of 576 cDNAs, of which expression changed more than four-fold, were sequenced and 18 genes were selected to verify their expression pattern under salt stress by semi-quantitative RT-PCR. Our genome-wide expression analysis resulted in the isolation of 50 novel Malus genes and the elucidation of a new apple-specific mechanism of salt tolerance, including the stabilization of photosynthesis under stress, involvement of phenolic compounds, and sorbitol in ROS scavenging and osmoprotection. The promoter regions of 111 genes were analyzed by PlantCARE, suggesting an intensive cross-talking of abiotic stress in Malus zumi. An interaction network of salt responsive genes was constructed and molecular regulatory pathways of apple were deduced. Our research will contribute to gene function analysis and further the understanding of salt-tolerance mechanisms in fruit trees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21053-21070
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 18 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Interaction network
  • Malus zumi
  • Microarray
  • Salt stress
  • Salt-responsive gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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