Higher novel L-Cys degradation activity results in lower organic-S and biomass in sarcocornia than the related Saltwort, Salicornia

Assylay Kurmanbayeva, Aizat Bekturova, Sudhakar Srivastava, Aigerim Soltabayeva, Armine Asatryan, Yvonne Ventura, Mohammad Suhail Khan, Octavio Salazar, Nina Fedoroff, Moshe Sagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Salicornia and Sarcocornia are almost identical halophytes whose edible succulent shoots hold promise for commercial production in saline water. Enhanced sulfur nutrition may be beneficial to crops naturally grown on high sulfate. However, little is known about sulfate nutrition in halophytes. Here we show that Salicornia europaea (ecotype RN) exhibits a significant increase in biomass and organic-S accumulation in response to supplemental sulfate, whereas Sarcocornia fruticosa (ecotype VM) does not, instead exhibiting increased sulfate accumulation. We investigated the role of two pathways on organic-S and biomass accumulation in Salicornia and Sarcoconia: the sulfate reductive pathway that generates Cys andL-Cys desulfhydrase that degrades Cys to H2S, NH3, and pyruvate. The major function of O-acetyl-Ser-(thiol) lyase (OAS-TL; EC is the formation ofL-Cys, but our study shows that the OAS-TL A and OAS-TL B of both halophytes are enzymes that also degradeL-Cys to H2S. This activity was significantly higher in Sarcocornia than in Salicornia, especially upon sulfate supplementation. The activity of the sulfate reductive pathway key enzyme, adenosine 59-phosphosulfate reductase (APR, EC, was significantly higher in Salicornia than in Sarcocornia. These results suggest that the low organic-S level in Sarcocornia is the result of highL-Cys degradation rate by OAS-TLs, whereas the greater organic-S and biomass accumulation in Salicornia is the result of higher APR activity and lowL-Cys degradation rate, resulting in higher net Cys biosynthesis. These results present an initial road map for halophyte growers to attain better growth rates and nutritional value of Salicornia and Sarcocornia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-289
Number of pages18
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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