RNA-Seq Transcriptome Analysis in Date Palm Suggests Multi-Dimensional Responses to Salinity Stress

Osman Radwan, Jie Arro, Caroline Keller, Schuyler S. Korban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability of date palm tree to survive under adverse abiotic conditions renders it as a valuable genomic resource for identifying tolerance genes. While mechanisms for salt tolerance have been heavily investigated in model as well as in some agronomic crops, no such studies have been undertaken in date palm. The aim of this study is to identify stress tolerance-related genes through transcriptomic analysis to support further functional studies. Young roots of Deglet Beida cultivar have been subjected to salt stress treatment, and used for RNA-Seq expression profiling and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis. A total of 1939 genes are found to be differentially expressed between mock-treated roots and salt-stressed roots using log2FC ≥15≤−15. Many of these regulatory genes belong to DNA/RNA, protein, membrane, and signaling functional categories, suggesting that these genes play functional roles in tolerance to salt stress. Furthermore, RNA-Seq analysis has revealed activation of abscisic acid signaling pathways through SNF1-related protein kinases 2. Additionally, certain key genes involved in sodium uptake and transport are down-regulated, suggesting a potential mechanism for slowing down up-take and transport of salt solutes within plant tissues. TEM analysis has revealed that stressed roots exhibit plasmolysis in cortical cells of the distal region, while epidermal cells do not. Interestingly, root-tip regions of stressed roots do not exhibit plasmolysis, and this is likely due to higher solute contents present in these sink cells. These findings provide new information on multi-dimensional responses of date palm to salinity stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-86
Number of pages13
JournalTropical Plant Biology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • ABA signaling pathways
  • Date palm
  • RNA-Seq
  • Salt stress
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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