Polyamines can alleviate the inhibitory effects of salinity on plant growth by regulating photosynthetic efficiency. However, little information is available to explain the specific mechanisms underlying the contribution of polyamines to salt tolerance of the photosynthetic apparatus. Here, we investigated the role of putrescine (Put) on the photosynthetic apparatus of cucumber seedlings under salt stress. We found that NaCl stress resulted in severe ion toxicity and oxidative stress in cucumber chloroplasts. In addition, salinity caused a significant increase in the saturated fatty acid contents of thylakoid membranes. Put altered unsaturated fatty acid content, thereby alleviating the disintegration of thylakoid grana lamellae and reducing the number of plastoglobuli in thylakoid membranes. BN-PAGE revealed Put up-regulated the expression of ATP synthase, CP47, D1, Qb, and psbA proteins and down-regulated CP24, D2, and LHCII type III in NaCl-stressed thylakoid membranes. qRT-PCR analysis of gene expression was used to compare transcript and protein accumulation among 10 candidate proteins. For five of these proteins, induced transcript accumulation was consistent with the pattern of induced protein accumulation. Our results suggest that Put regulates protein expression at transcriptional and translational levels by increasing endogenous polyamines levels in thylakoid membranes, which may stabilise photosynthetic apparatus under salt stress.
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