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Article|01 Jun 2021|OPEN
Melatonin-induced DNA demethylation of metal transporters and antioxidant genes alleviates lead stress in radish plants
Mingjia Tang1, Liang Xu1, Yan Wang1, Junhui Dong1, Xiaoli Zhang1, Kai Wang1, Jiali Ying1, Cui Li1 & Liwang Liu1,
1National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Key Laboratory of Horticultural Crop Biology and Genetic Improvement (East China) of MOAR, College of Horticulture, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, P.R. China

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 124 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.124
Views: 402

Received: 31 Aug 2020
Revised: 11 Mar 2021
Accepted: 26 Mar 2021
Published online: 01 Jun 2021


Melatonin (MT) is a tryptophan-derived natural product that plays a vital role in plant response to abiotic stresses, including heavy metals (HMs). However, it remains elusive how exogenous MT mediates lead (Pb) accumulation and detoxification at the methylation and transcriptional levels in radish. In this study, decreased Pb accumulation and increased antioxidant enzyme activity were detected under MT treatment in radish. Single-base resolution maps of DNA methylation under Pb stress (Pb200) and Pb plus MT treatment (Pb_50MT) were first generated. The genome-wide methylation level was increased under Pb stress, while an overall loss of DNA methylation was observed under MT treatment. The differentially methylated region (DMR)-associated genes between Pb_50MT and Pb200 were uniquely enriched in ion binding terms, including cation binding, iron ion binding and transition metal ion binding. Hyper-DMRs between Pb200 and Control exhibited a decreasing trend of methylation under Pb_50MT treatment. A few critical upregulated antioxidant genes (e.g., RsAPX2, RsPOD52 and RsGST) exhibited decreased methylation levels under MT treatment, which enabled the radish plants to scavenge lead-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and decrease oxidative stress. Notably, several MT-induced HM transporter genes with low methylation (e.g., RsABCF5, RsYSL7 and RsHMT) and transcription factors (e.g., RsWRKY41 and RsMYB2) were involved in reducing Pb accumulation in radish roots. These findings could facilitate comprehensive elucidation of the molecular mechanism underlying MT-mediated Pb accumulation and detoxification in radish and other root vegetable crops.