Zinc salts occurring in soils can exert an osmotic stress toward plants. However, being zinc a heavy metal, some more specific effects on plant metabolisms can be forecast. In this work, lettuce has been used as a model to investigate salt and zinc stresses at proteome level through a shotgun tandem MS proteomic approach. The effect of zinc stress in lettuce, in comparison with NaCl stress, was evaluated to dissect between osmotic/oxidative stress related effects, from those changes specifically related to zinc. The analysis of proteins exhibiting a fold change of 3 as minimum (on log 2 normalized abundances), revealed the involvement of photosynthesis (via stimulation of chlorophyll synthesis and enhanced role of photosystem I) as well as stimulation of photophosphorylation. Increased glycolytic supply of energy substrates and ammonium assimilation [through formation of glutamine synthetase (GS)] were also induced by zinc in soil. Similarly, protein metabolism (at both transcriptional and ribosomal level), heat shock proteins, and proteolysis were affected. According to their biosynthetic enzymes, hormones appear to be altered by both the treatment and the time point considered: ethylene biosynthesis was enhanced, while production of abscisic acid was up- regulated at the earlier time point to decrease markedly and gibberellins were decreased at the later one. Besides aquaporin PIP2 synthesis, other osmotic/oxidative stress related compounds were enhanced under zinc stress, i.e., proline, hydroxycinnamic acids, ascorbate, sesquiterpene lactones, and terpenoids biosynthesis. Although the proteins involved in the response to zinc stress and to salinity were substantially the same, their abundance changed between the two treatments. Lettuce response to zinc was more prominent at the first sampling point, yet showing a faster adaptation than under NaCl stress. Indeed, lettuce plants showed an adaptation after 30 days of stress, in a more pronounced way in the case of zinc.
- abiotic stress
- shotgun proteomics