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Melatonin enhances the hemiparasite Santalum album Linn. tolerance to low nitrogen stress via accelerated N metabolism and haustoria development
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  • Sen Meng,
  • Xiaoling Wang,
  • Zhan Bian,
  • Zhenshuang Li,
  • Fucheng Yang,
  • Shengkun Wang,
  • John Yoder,
  • Junkun Lu
Xiaoling Wang
Jiangxi Academy of Sciences
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Zhan Bian
Research Institute of Tropical Forestry Chinese Academy of Forestry
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Zhenshuang Li
Research Institute of Tropical Forestry Chinese Academy of Forestry
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Fucheng Yang
Research Institute of Tropical Forestry Chinese Academy of Forestry
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Shengkun Wang
Research Institute of Tropical Forestry Chinese Academy of Forestry
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John Yoder
University of California Davis Department of Plant Sciences
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Junkun Lu
Research Institute of Tropical Forestry Chinese Academy of Forestry
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Abstract

Santalum album is a hemiparasitic plant that obtains some of its water and nutritional requirements by parasitizing the roots of neighboring plants. As a hemiparasite, S. album can obtain organic N from parasitizing host roots as well as inorganic N by absorption thru its roots. In this current study, we evaluated changes in the physiology, transcriptional profiles and chromatin accessibility in S. album seedlings exposed to low N conditions with and without supplemental melatonin. We employed two complementary assays, global transcriptome analysis (RNA-seq) and assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with high throughput sequencing (ATAC-seq) to identify genes and genic regions differentially regulated in S. album roots under these conditions. Low N conditions disturbed the homeostasis of N metabolism, reducing both N uptake and assimilation. The inclusion of melatonin enabled S. album seedlings in low N conditions to achieve significantly higher levels of N uptake and assimilation compared to plants without melatonin. Interestingly, melatonin treatment also enhanced haustorium development through a mechanism associated with auxin accumulation. These results suggest that the application of supplemental melatonin may accelerate N metabolism and haustorium formation of S. album in low N conditions.