DOI: 10.1111/nph.19503 ISSN: 0028-646X

A novel miR160aGmARF16GmMYC2 module determines soybean salt tolerance and adaptation

Chaofan Wang, Xiaoming Li, Yongbin Zhuang, Wancai Sun, Hongxiang Cao, Ran Xu, Fanjiang Kong, Dajian Zhang
  • Plant Science
  • Physiology


Salt stress is a major challenge that has a negative impact on soybean growth and productivity. Therefore, it is important to understand the regulatory mechanism of salt response to ensure soybean yield under such conditions.

In this study, we identified and characterized a miR160a–GmARF16–GmMYC2 module and its regulation during the salt–stress response in soybean.

miR160a promotes salt tolerance by cleaving GmARF16 transcripts, members of the Auxin Response Factor (ARF) family, which negatively regulates salt tolerance. In turn, GmARF16 activates GmMYC2, encoding a bHLH transcription factor that reduces salinity tolerance by down‐regulating proline biosynthesis. Genomic analysis among wild and cultivated soybean accessions identified four distinct GmARF16 haplotypes. Among them, the GmARF16H3 haplotype is preferentially enriched in localities with relatively saline soils, suggesting GmARF16H3 was artificially selected to improve salt tolerance.

Our findings therefore provide insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying salt response in soybean and provide valuable genetic targets for the molecular breeding of salt tolerance.

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