Photoautotrophic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum var. Wisconsin 38) cell cultures were gradually adapted to grow in media containing the normally inhibitory concentration of 20 g l-1 NaCl. Both salt-adapted cultures maintained in 20 g l-1 NaCl (P20) and salt-unadapted (P0) cultures demonstrated similar chloroplast morphology and similar growth characteristics on a dry weight basis, but P20 cells showed reduced growth on a fresh weight basis compared to P0 cells. Compared to P0 cells, intracellular sucrose levels were significantly higher in P20 cells while starch levels in P0 cells were significantly higher than in P20 cells. Levels of intracellular and extracellular reducing sugars, and chlorophyll accumulated to the same degree in P20 and P0 cells, but accumulation was delayed by approximately 13 days in P20 cells. O2 evolution and 14[CO2] fixation was more resistant to inhibition by NaCl in P20 cells than in P0 cells. However, significant changes in the abundance of thylakoid membrane proteins could not be demonstrated between P20 and P0 cells although higher levels of Rubisco on a per milligram chlorophyll basis were observed in P0 compared to P20 chloroplasts.
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