Drought responses of foliar metabolites in three maize hybrids differing in water stress tolerance.
ABSTRACT: Maize (Zea mays L.) hybrids varying in drought tolerance were treated with water stress in controlled environments. Experiments were performed during vegetative growth and water was withheld for 19 days beginning 17 days after sowing. Genotypic comparisons used measured changes of leaf water potential or results were expressed by time of treatment. Total dry matter of the drought tolerant hybrid on the final harvest was 53% less than that of the intermediate and susceptible maize hybrids when plants were water sufficient. This showed that maize hybrids selected for extreme drought tolerance possessed a dwarf phenotype that affected soil water contents and leaf water potentials. Changes of shoot and root growth, leaf water potential, net photosynthesis and stomatal conductance in response to the time of water stress treatment were diminished when comparing the drought tolerant to the intermediate or susceptible maize hybrids. Genotypic differences were observed in 26 of 40 total foliar metabolites during water stress treatments. Hierarchical clustering revealed that the tolerant maize hybrid initiated the accumulation of stress related metabolites at higher leaf water potentials than either the susceptible or intermediate hybrids. Opposite results occurred when changes of metabolites in maize leaves were expressed temporally. The above results demonstrated that genotypic differences were readily observed by comparing maize hybrids differing in drought tolerance based on either time of treatment or measured leaf water potential. Current findings provided new and potentially important insights into the mechanisms of drought tolerance in maize.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Drought is one of the major constraints for plant productivity worldwide. Different mechanisms of drought-tolerance have been reported for several plant species including maize. However, the differences in global gene expression between drought-tolerant and susceptible genotypes and their relationship to physiological adaptations to drought are largely unknown. The study of the differences in global gene expression between tolerant and susceptible genotypes could provide important information to design more efficient breeding programs to produce maize varieties better adapted to water limiting conditions. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Changes in physiological responses and gene expression patterns were studied under drought stress and recovery in three Mexican maize landraces which included two drought tolerant (Cajete criollo and Michoacán 21) and one susceptible (85-2) genotypes. Photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, soil and leaf water potentials were monitored throughout the experiment and microarray analysis was carried out on transcripts obtained at 10 and 17 days following application of stress and after recovery irrigation. The two tolerant genotypes show more drastic changes in global gene expression which correlate with different physiological mechanisms of adaptation to drought. Differences in the kinetics and number of up- and down-regulated genes were observed between the tolerant and susceptible maize genotypes, as well as differences between the two tolerant genotypes. Interestingly, the most dramatic differences between the tolerant and susceptible genotypes were observed during recovery irrigation, suggesting that the tolerant genotypes activate mechanisms that allow more efficient recovery after a severe drought. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: A correlation between levels of photosynthesis and transcription under stress was observed and differences in the number, type and expression levels of transcription factor families were also identified under drought and recovery between the three maize landraces. Gene expression analysis suggests that the drought tolerant landraces have a greater capacity to rapidly modulate more genes under drought and recovery in comparison to the susceptible landrace. Modulation of a greater number of differentially expressed genes of different TF gene families is an important characteristic of the tolerant genotypes. Finally, important differences were also noted between the tolerant landraces that underlie different mechanisms of achieving tolerance.
Project description:We studied the impact of drought on growth regulation in leaves of 13 maize varieties with different drought sensitivity and geographic origins (Western Europe, Egypt, South Africa) and the inbred line B73. Combining kinematic analysis of the maize leaf growth zone with biochemical measurements at a high spatial resolution allowed us to examine the correlation between the regulation of the cellular processes cell division and elongation, and the molecular redox-regulation in response to drought. Moreover, we demonstrated differences in the response of the maize lines to mild and severe levels of water deficit. Kinematic analysis indicated that drought tolerant lines experienced less impact on leaf elongation rate due to a smaller reduction of cell production, which, in turn, was due to a smaller decrease of meristem size and number of cells in the leaf meristem. Clear differences in growth responses between the groups of lines with different geographic origin were observed in response to drought. The difference in drought tolerance between the Egyptian hybrids was significantly larger than between the European and South-African hybrids. Through biochemical analyses, we investigated whether antioxidant activity in the growth zone, contributes to the drought sensitivity differences. We used a hierarchical clustering to visualize the patterns of lipid peroxidation, H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> and antioxidant concentrations, and enzyme activities throughout the growth zone, in response to stress. The results showed that the lines with different geographic region used different molecular strategies to cope with the stress, with the Egyptian hybrids responding more at the metabolite level and African and the European hybrids at the enzyme level. However, drought tolerance correlated with both, higher antioxidant levels throughout the growth zone and higher activities of the redox-regulating enzymes CAT, POX, APX, and GR specifically in leaf meristems. These findings provide evidence for a link between antioxidant regulation in the leaf meristem, cell division, and drought tolerance.
Project description:Breeding maize for drought tolerance necessitates the knowledge on tolerant genotypes, molecular basis of drought tolerance mechanism, action, and expression pattern of genes. Studying the expression pattern and gene action of candidate genes during drought stress in the hybrids will help in choosing target genes for drought tolerance breeding. In the present investigation, a set of five hybrids and their seven parents with a variable level of tolerance to drought stress was selected to study the magnitude and the direction of 52 drought-responsive candidate genes distributed across various biological functions, <i>viz</i>., stomatal regulation, root development, detoxification, hormone signaling, photosynthesis, and sugar metabolism. The tolerant parents, HKI1105 and CML425, and their hybrid, ADWLH2, were physiologically active under drought stress, since vital parameters <i>viz</i>., chlorophyll, root length and relative water content, were on par with the respective well-watered control. All the genes were up-regulated in ADWLH2, many were down-regulated in HM8 and HM9, and most were down-regulated in PMH1 and PMH3 in the shoots and roots. The nature of the gene action was controlled by the parental combination rather than the parent <i>per se</i>. The differentially expressed genes in all five hybrids explained a mostly non-additive gene action over additivity, which was skewed toward any of the parental lines. Tissue-specific gene action was also noticed in many of the genes. The non-additive gene action is driven by genetic diversity, allele polymorphism, events during gene regulation, and small RNAs under the stress condition. Differential regulation and cross-talk of genes controlling various biological functions explained the basis of drought tolerance in subtropical maize hybrids. The nature of the gene action and the direction of the expression play crucial roles in designing introgression and hybrid breeding programmes to breed drought tolerant maize hybrids.
Project description:Fifteen million farmers in India engaged in Maize cultivation. India would require 45 MMT of Maize by 2022. But, only 15% of cultivated area of maize is under irrigation and water shortage has been a challenge for sustainability of maize production. Water deficit stress (WDS) during pre-flowering and grain filling stages massively affects the plant performance due to imprecise traits function. Thus, the effect of WDS on non-drought tolerant (NDT) and drought tolerant (DT) maize lines were investigated. WDS increased the flowering days, days to maturity, anthesis silk interval, decreased the leaf number, abnormal expression of secondary stress responsive traits, loss of normal root architecture which overall lead to a reduction in GY/ha. WDS at flowering and grain filling stage leads to significant yield penalty especially in NDT lines than DT lines. The yield penalty was ranged from 34.28 to 66.15% in NDT and 38.48 to 55.95% in DT lines due to WDS. Using multiple statistics, traits which improve WDS tolerance in maize were identified viz; number of leaves, number of stomata on lower surface of leaf, leaf angle at ear forming node internodal length between 3rd and 4th leaf from top, flag leaf length, flag leaf width, ear per plants, leaf senescence, pollen stainability, root fresh weight and root length. These traits would help in trait specific breeding in maize for WDS tolerance.
Project description:Like other important cereal crop in modern agricultural production, maize is also threatened by drought. And the drought stress during maize filling stage will directly affect the quality (protein or oil concentration) and also the weight of grain. Therefore, different from previous studies focusing on inbred lines and pot experiment at seedling stage, current study selected filling stage of the adult plant and planting maize in the experimental field. Two hybrids cultivars with different drought tolerant were used for drought and water treatment respectively. We performed transcriptome sequencing analysis of 4 groups, 12 samples, and obtained 651.08 million raw reads. Then the data were further processed by mapping to a reference genome, GO annotation, enrichment analysis and so on. Among them we focus on the different change trends of water treatment and drought treatment, and the different responses of two drought-tolerant cultivars to drought treatment. Through the analysis, several transcripts which encode nitrogen metabolic, protein phosphorylation, MYB,AP2/ERF, HB transcriptional factor, O-glycosyl hydrolases and organic acid metabolic process were implicated with maize drought stress. Our data will offer insights of the identification of genes involved in maize drought stress tolerance, which provides a theoretical basis for maize drought resistance breeding.
Project description:Drought is a major threat to maize growth and production. Understanding the molecular regulation network of drought tolerance in maize is of great importance. In this study, two maize inbred lines with contrasting drought tolerance were tested in the field under natural soil drought and well-watered conditions. In addition, the transcriptomes of their leaves was analyzed by RNA-Seq. In total, 555 and 2,558 genes were detected to specifically respond to drought in the tolerant and the sensitive line, respectively, with a more positive regulation tendency in the tolerant genotype. Furthermore, 4,700, 4,748, 4,403 and 4,288 genes showed differential expression between the two lines under moderate drought, severe drought and their well-watered controls, respectively. Transcription factors were enriched in both genotypic differentially expressed genes and specifically responsive genes of the tolerant line. It was speculated that the genotype-specific response of 20 transcription factors in the tolerance line and the sustained genotypically differential expression of 22 transcription factors might enhance tolerance to drought in maize. Our results provide new insight into maize drought tolerance-related regulation systems and provide gene resources for subsequent studies and drought tolerance improvement.
Project description:Insufficient soil moisture during summer months is now the major cause of sugar beet yield losses in the UK. However, selection for increased drought tolerance has not been a breeding priority until recently. Genetic variation for drought tolerance is an essential prerequisite for the development of more stress-tolerant varieties, but commercial sugar beet varieties seem to have similar yield responses to drought. The objective of this study was to assess the degree of genotypic variation for drought tolerance within a wide range of sugar beet germplasm and genebank accessions within Beta. Thirty sugar beet genotypes were screened under field drought conditions, and putative drought tolerant and sensitive lines (in terms of yield reduction in polythene-covered vs. irrigated plots) were identified. Significant genotype x water treatment interactions were found for dry matter yield and relative leaf expansion rate. Genotypic differences for drought susceptibility index were also significant. Differential sensitivity of seedling shoot growth to water deficit was examined by comparing 350 genebank accessions in a simple growth chamber screen. Methods of data management were devised to highlight lines for entry into subsequent field tests. The results of the field and seedling screens indicate that there is variation for tolerance to water deficits within sugar beet and related types, and that there are lines that show greater drought tolerance than selected commercial varieties. Divergent lines showing contrasting behaviour should aid in the identification of key morpho-physiological traits that confer drought tolerance.
Project description:Background and Aims:Despite the importance of growth [CO 2 ] and water availability for tree growth and survival, little information is available on how the interplay of these two factors can shape intraspecific patterns of functional variation in tree species, particularly for conifers. The main objective of the study was to test whether the range of realized drought tolerance within the species can be affected by elevated [CO 2 ]. Methods:Intraspecific variability in leaf gas exchange, growth rate and other leaf functional traits were studied in clones of maritime pine. A factorial experiment including water availability, growth [CO 2 ] and four different genotypes was conducted in growth rooms. A 'water deficit' treatment was imposed by applying a cycle of progressive soil water depletion and recovery at two levels of growth [CO 2 ]: 'ambient [CO 2 ]' (aCO 2 400??mol mol -1 ) and 'elevated [CO 2 ]' (eCO 2 800??mol mol -1 ). Key Results:eCO2 had a neutral effect on the impact of drought on growth and leaf gas exchange of the most drought-sensitive genotypes while it aggravated the impact of drought on the most drought-tolerant genotypes at aCO2. Thus, eCO2 attenuated genotypic differences in drought tolerance as compared with those observed at aCO2. Genotypic variation at both levels of growth [CO2] was found in specific leaf area and leaf nitrogen content but not in other physiological leaf traits such as intrinsic water use efficiency and leaf osmotic potential. eCO2 increased ? 13 C but had no significant effect on ? 18 O. This effect did not interact with the impact of drought, which increased ? 18 O and decreased ? 13 C. Nevertheless, correlations between ? 13 C and ? 18 O indicated the non-stomatal component of water use efficiency in this species can be particularly sensitive to drought. Conclusions:Evidence from this study suggests elevated [CO 2 ] can modify current ranges of drought tolerance within tree species.
Project description:The development and deployment of high-yielding stress tolerant maize hybrids are important components of the efforts to increase maize productivity in eastern Africa. This study was conducted to: i) evaluate selected, stress-tolerant maize hybrids under farmers’ conditions; ii) identify farmers’ selection criteria in selecting maize hybrids; and iii) have farmers evaluate the new varieties according to those criteria. Two sets of trials, one with 12 early-to-intermediate maturing and the other with 13 intermediate-to-late maturing hybrids, improved for tolerance to multiple stresses common in farmers’ fields in eastern Africa (drought, northern corn leaf blight, gray leaf spot, common rust, maize streak virus), were evaluated on-farm under smallholder farmers’ conditions in a total of 42 and 40 environments (site-year-management combinations), respectively, across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda in 2016 and 2017. Farmer-participatory variety evaluation was conducted at 27 sites in Kenya and Rwanda, with a total of 2025 participating farmers. Differential performance of the hybrids was observed under low-yielding (<3?t ha?1) and high-yielding (>3?t ha?1) environments. The new stress-tolerant maize hybrids had a much better grain-yield performance than the best commercial checks under smallholder farmer growing environments but had a comparable grain-yield performance under optimal conditions. These hybrids also showed better grain-yield stability across the testing environments, providing an evidence for the success of the maize-breeding approach. In addition, the new stress- tolerant varieties outperformed the internal genetic checks, indicating genetic gain under farmers’ conditions. Farmers gave high importance to grain yield in both farmer-stated preferences (through scores) and farmer-revealed preferences of criteria (revealed by regressing the overall scores on the scores for the individual criteria). The top-yielding hybrids in both maturity groups also received the farmers’ highest overall scores. Farmers ranked yield, early maturity, cob size and number of cobs as the most important traits for variety preference. The criteria for the different hybrids did not differ between men and women farmers. Farmers gave priority to many different traits in addition to grain yield, but this may not be applicable across all maize-growing regions. Farmer-stated importance of the different criteria, however, were quite different from farmer- revealed importance. Further, there were significant differences between men and women in the revealed-importance of the criteria. We conclude that incorporating farmers’ selection criteria in the stage-gate advancement process of new hybrids by the breeders is useful under the changing maize-growing environments in sub-Saharan Africa, and recommended to increase the turnover of new maize hybrids.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Frequently occurring drought stress negatively affects the production of maize worldwide. Numerous efforts have been made to develop drought-tolerant maize lines and to explore drought tolerant mechanisms in maize. However, there is a lack of comparative studies on transcriptomic changes between drought-tolerant and control maize lines. RESULTS:In the present study, we have developed a drought-tolerant maize mutant (C7-2t) by irradiating the seeds of maize inbred line ChangC7-2 (C7-2) with 60Co-?. Compared to its wild type C7-2, C7-2t exhibited a significantly delayed wilting and higher drought tolerance under both the controlled and field conditions, indicating its high water-holding ability. Transcriptomic profiling was performed to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between C7-2 and C7-2t during drought. As a result, a total of 4552 DEGs were implied in drought tolerance of C7-2 and C7-2t. In particular, the expression of photosynthesis-related genes in C7-2 was inhibited, whereas these genes in C7-2t were almost unaffected under drought. Moreover, a specific set of the DEGs were involved in phenylpropanoid biosynthesis and taurine (hypotaurine) metabolism in C7-2t; these DEGs were enriched in cell components associated with membrane systems and cell wall biosynthesis. CONCLUSIONS:The drought tolerance of C7-2t was largely due to its high water-holding ability, stable photosynthesis (for supporting osmoregulation) and strengthened biosynthesis of cell walls under drought conditions.