5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), a key precursor in the biosynthesis of porphyrins, can improve plant tolerance to various environmental stresses. However, it is unclear whether ALA can improve tolerance in poplar. Here, we investigated the effects of ALA on poplars under drought and salt stresses. ALA pretreatment exhibited less morphological damage, reduced leaf malonaldehyde content (MDA) and electrolyte leakage (EL), and increased leaf relative water content (RWC), proline (PRO), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and peroxidase (POD) content under stresses. Furthermore, exogenous ALA mitigated the decrease in photosynthetic capacity, and restored the chlorophyll content (Chl), net CO2 assimilation rate, stomatal conductance (Gs), transpiration rate (Tr), maximal photochemical quantum yield of PSII (Fv/Fm), actual quantum yield of photosynthesis (YII), and electron transfer rate (ETR) of poplar under various stresses. qRT-PCR showed that ALA up-regulated the expression of antiporters and aquaporins genes, which are associated with Na+ exclusion in the leaf cells and the transport activity of aquaporins. In summary, ALA pretreatment significantly improved the stress tolerance of poplar, decreasing the degree of membrane lipid peroxidation and promoting the photosynthesis and antioxidant capacity of leaves. In addition, our results showed that ALA might mediate Na+ transporter and aquaporins activity, thereby increasing the salt tolerance of poplar.
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition