BACKGROUND: Introgression as a means of generating phenotypic novelty, including altered stress tolerance, is increasingly being recognized as common. The underlying basis for de novo genesis of phenotypic variation in the introgression lines remains largely unexplored. In this investigation, we used a rice line (RZ35) derived from introgressive hybridization between rice (Oryza sativa L.) and wild rice (Zizania latifolia Griseb.), along with its rice parental line (cv. Matsumae) as the experimental materials. We compared effects of salt stress on growth, ion homeostasis, and relevant gene expression between RZ35 and Matsumae, to explore possible mechanisms of heritable alteration in stress tolerance induced by the introgression.<br /><br />RESULTS: Contrary to our expectation, the results showed that the inhibitory effect of salt stress on growth of RZ35 was significantly greater than that of Matsumae. We further found that a major underlying cause for this outcome is that the introgression process weakened the capacity in Na+ exclusion under the salt stress condition, and hence, escalated the injuries of Na+ and Cl- in shoots of RZ35. Accordingly, based on q-RT-PCR analysis, four genes known to be involved in the Na+ exclusion, i.e., OsHKT1;5, OsSOS1, OsCIPK24 and OsCBL4, were found to be significantly down-regulated in roots of RZ35 relative to its rice parental line under the salt stress condition, thus implicating a gene expression regulation-based molecular mechanism underlying the difference in salt stress-tolerance between the introgression line and its rice parental line.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: We show that introgression represents a potent means for rapidly generating de novo heritable variations in physiological traits like stress tolerance in plants, although the direction of the alteration appears unpredictable.
Yang, C., Zhang, T., Wang, H., Zhao, N., & Liu, B. (2012). Heritable alteration in salt-tolerance in rice induced by introgression from wild rice (Zizania latifolia). Rice, 5(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1186/1939-8433-5-36