The halophyte Mesembryanthemum crystallinum adapts to salt stress by salt uptake and switching from C3 photosynthesis to CAM (crassulacean acid metabolism). An important role in this process is played by transport proteins in the tonoplast of the central vacuole. In the present study we examine dynamic changes in the protein composition during salt-stress adaptation in microsomes from M. crystallinum leaves. Plants challenged with 400 mM NaCl accumulate salt by day 4 of treatment and malic acid only at day 12; a switching to CAM hence follows any initial steps of salt adaptation with a delay. Using a label-free and semiquantitative approach, we identified the most dramatic changes between the proteome of control plants and plants harvested after 12 days of the treatment; the abundance of 14 proteins was significantly affected. The proteomic data revealed that the majority of the subunits of V-ATPase (vacuolar H+-ATPase) holoenzyme. The salt treatment somewhat decreased the abundance of all subunits in the short term (4 days). Long-term adaptation, including the switching to CAM, goes together with a strong increase in the representation of all detectable subunits. Because this increase is subunit-specific, with the highest rise occurring for subunits E and c, the data suggest that long-term adaptation to salt stress correlates with a change in V-ATPase subunit stoichiometry and highlight the structural plasticity of this holoenzyme.

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