Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Plasticity in the hormonal response to cold stress in the invasive plant Carpobrotus edulis.

Abstract

Cold stress response is mediated by multiple signaling pathways with complex interactions, among which phytohormones may play a role. We explored changes in the contents of phytohormones, including abscisic acid, jasmonic acid, salicylic acid, auxin, cytokinins, gibberellins and melatonin, along with stress tolerance markers in an invasive halophyte, Carpobrotus edulis in response to chilling. In a first experiment, plants were exposed to mean daily temperatures from 10°C to 5°C during a cold wave in an experimental garden. In a second experiment, plants were subject to slowly decreasing temperatures, from 20 to 5°C, in a climatic chamber. Although the cold response in both experiments was associated with a similar extent of leaf desiccation, hormonal variations differed. Cold stress reduced melatonin contents, while it increased salicylic acid contents in the experimental garden. Rather, transient increases in the contents of melatonin occurred in parallel with sustained increases in the contents of abscisic acid and cytokinins in the climatic chamber. In both experiments, plants were able to prevent cold-induced increases in lipid peroxidation and any eventual damage to the photosynthetic apparatus. We conclude that (i) the hormonal response to chilling in C. edulis is strongly dependent on time exposure to low temperatures, severity of stress, as well as other environmental conditions, (ii) the hormonal response of this plant species to low temperatures is very plastic, thus underlining its great capacity for cold acclimation.