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Evolutionary significance of NHX family and NHX1 in salinity stress adaptation in the genus Oryza


Solis, CA and Yong, MT and Zhou, M and Venkataraman, G and Shabala, L and Holford, P and Shabala, S and Chen, ZH, Evolutionary significance of NHX family and NHX1 in salinity stress adaptation in the genus Oryza, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23, (4) Article 2092. ISSN 1422-0067 (2022) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://

DOI: doi:10.3390/ijms23042092


Rice (Oryza sativa), a staple crop for a substantial part of the world's population, is highly sensitive to soil salinity; however, some wild Oryza relatives can survive in highly saline environments. Sodium/hydrogen antiporter (NHX) family members contribute to Na+ homeostasis in plants and play a major role in conferring salinity tolerance. In this study, we analyzed the evolution of NHX family members using phylogeny, conserved domains, tertiary structures, expression patterns, and physiology of cultivated and wild Oryza species to decipher the role of NHXs in salt tolerance in Oryza. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the NHX family can be classified into three subfamilies directly related to their subcellular localization: endomembrane, plasma membrane, and tonoplast (vacuolar subfamily, vNHX1). Phylogenetic and structural analysis showed that vNHX1s have evolved from streptophyte algae (e.g., Klebsormidium nitens) and are abundant and highly conserved in all major land plant lineages, including Oryza. Moreover, we showed that tissue tolerance is a crucial trait conferring tolerance to salinity in wild rice species. Higher Na+ accumulation and reduced Na+ effluxes in leaf mesophyll were observed in the salt-tolerant wild rice species O. alta, O. latifolia, and O. coarctata. Among the key genes affecting tissue tolerance, expression of NHX1 and SOS1/NHX7 exhibited significant correlation with salt tolerance among the rice species and cultivars. This study provides insights into the evolutionary origin of plant NHXs and their role in tissue tolerance of Oryza species and facilitates the inclusion of this trait during the development of salinity-tolerant rice cultivars.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:gene family evolution; wild rice; sodium homeostasis; Oryza sativa; Oryza coarctata; rice; salinity
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Crop and pasture production
Research Field:Agrochemicals and biocides (incl. application)
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Grains and seeds
Objective Field:Rice
UTAS Author:Solis, CA (Ms Celymar Solis)
UTAS Author:Zhou, M (Professor Meixue Zhou)
UTAS Author:Shabala, L (Associate Professor Lana Shabala)
UTAS Author:Shabala, S (Professor Sergey Shabala)
ID Code:153062
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-09-02
Last Modified:2022-11-18
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