The influence of salicylic acid (SA) on elicitation of defense mechanisms in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seeds and seedlings was assessed by physiological measurements combined with global expression profiling (proteomics). Parallel experiments were carried out using the NahG transgenic plants expressing the bacterial gene encoding SA hydroxylase, which cannot accumulate the active form of this plant defense elicitor. SA markedly improved germination under salt stress. Proteomic analyses disclosed a specific accumulation of protein spots regulated by SA as inferred by silver-nitrate staining of two-dimensional gels, detection of carbonylated (oxidized) proteins, and neosynthesized proteins with [35S]-methionine. The combined results revealed several processes potentially affected by SA. This molecule enhanced the reinduction of the late maturation program during early stages of germination, thereby allowing the germinating seeds to reinforce their capacity to mount adaptive responses in environmental water stress. Other processes affected by SA concerned the quality of protein translation, the priming of seed metabolism, the synthesis of antioxidant enzymes, and the mobilization of seed storage proteins. All the observed effects are likely to improve seed vigor. Another aspect revealed by this study concerned the oxidative stress entailed by SA in germinating seeds, as inferred from a characterization of the carbonylated (oxidized) proteome. Finally, the proteomic data revealed a close interplay between abscisic signaling and SA elicitation of seed vigor
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