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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01139

Spatio-Temporal Metabolite and Elemental Profiling of Salt Stressed Barley Seeds During Initial Stages of Germination by MALDI-MSI and µ-XRF Spectrometry

  • 1School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 2Metabolomics Australia, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 3Deakin University, Australia
  • 4AgriBio, La Trobe University, Australia
  • 5Murdoch University, Australia

Seed germination is the essential first step in crop establishment, and can be severely affected by salinity stress which can inhibit essential metabolic processes during the germination process. Salt stress during seed germination can trigger lipid-dependent signalling cascades that activate plant adaptation processes, lead to changes in membrane fluidity to help resist the stress, and cause secondary metabolite responses due to increased oxidative stress. In germinating barley (Hordeum vulgare), knowledge of the changes in spatial distribution of lipids and other small molecules at a cellular level in response to salt stress is limited. In this study, mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QToF-MS), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) were used to determine the spatial distribution of metabolites, lipids and a range of elements, such as K+ and Na+, in seeds of two barley genotypes with contrasting germination phenology (Australian barley varieties Mundah and Keel). We detected and putatively identified more than 200 lipid species belonging to seven major lipid classes (fatty acyls, glycerolipids, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, prenol lipids, sterol lipids and polyketides) that differed in their spatial distribution based on genotype (Mundah or Keel), time post-imbibition (0 to 72 hours), or treatment (control or salt). We found a putative flavonoid was discriminant in post-imbibed Mundah embryos under saline conditions, and a delayed flavonoid response in Keel relative to Mundah. We further employed MSI-MS/MS and LC-QToF-MS/MS to explore the identity of the discriminant flavonoid and study the temporal pattern in five additional barley genotypes. ICP-MS was used to quantify the elemental composition of both Mundah and Keel seeds, showing a significant increase in Na+ in salt treated samples. Spatial mapping of elements using µ-XRF localised the elements within the seeds. This study integrates data obtained from three mass spectrometry platforms together with µ-XRF to yield information on the localization of lipids, metabolites and elements improving our understanding of the germination process under salt stress at a molecular level.

Keywords: Salinity, barley, Germination, Metabolomics, Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), Lipids, MALDI

Received: 05 Apr 2019; Accepted: 21 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Gupta, Rupasinghe, Callahan, Natera, Smith, Hill, Roessner and Boughton. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Berin A. Boughton, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 3010, Australia,