Balancing growth amidst salt stress – lifestyle perspectives from the extremophyte model Schrenkiella parvula

Kieu Nga Tran, Pramod Pantha, Guannan Wang, Narender Kumar, Chathura Wijesinghege, Dong Ha Oh, Samadhi Wimalagunasekara, Nick Duppen, Hongfei Li, Hyewon Hong, John C. Johnson, Ross Kelt, Megan G. Matherne, Thu T. Nguyen, Jason R. Garcia, Ashley Clement, David Tran, Colt Crain, Prava Adhikari, Yanxia ZhangMaryam Foroozani, Guido Sessa, John C. Larkin, Aaron P. Smith, David Longstreth, Patrick Finnegan, Christa Testerink, Simon Barak, Maheshi Dassanayake*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Schrenkiella parvula, a leading extremophyte model in Brassicaceae, can grow and complete its lifecycle under multiple environmental stresses, including high salinity. Yet, the key physiological and structural traits underlying its stress-adapted lifestyle are unknown along with trade-offs when surviving salt stress at the expense of growth and reproduction. We aimed to identify the influential adaptive trait responses that lead to stress-resilient and uncompromised growth across developmental stages when treated with salt at levels known to inhibit growth in Arabidopsis and most crops. Its resilient growth was promoted by traits that synergistically allowed primary root growth in seedlings, the expansion of xylem vessels across the root-shoot continuum, and a high capacity to maintain tissue water levels by developing thicker succulent leaves while enabling photosynthesis during salt stress. A successful transition from vegetative to reproductive phase was initiated by salt-induced early flowering, resulting in viable seeds. Self-fertilization in salt-induced early flowering was dependent upon filament elongation in flowers otherwise aborted in the absence of salt during comparable plant ages. The maintenance of leaf water status promoting growth, and early flowering to ensure reproductive success in a changing environment, were among the most influential traits that contributed to the extremophytic lifestyle of S. parvula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-941
Number of pages21
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Extremophyte
  • abiotic stress
  • life history traits
  • physiological responses
  • plasticity
  • salt stress
  • stress-resilient growth
  • structural adaptations
  • trade-offs


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