Effects of drought stress and water recovery on physiological responses and gene expression in maize seedlings.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Drought is one of the major factors limiting global maize production. Exposure to long-term drought conditions inhibits growth and leads to yield losses. Although several drought-responsive genes have been identified and functionally analyzed, the mechanisms underlying responses to drought and water recovery treatments have not been fully elucidated. To characterize how maize seedling respond to drought stress at the transcriptional level, we analyzed physiological responses and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the inbred line B73 under water deficit and recovery conditions. RESULTS:The data for relative leaf water content, leaf size, and photosynthesis-related parameters indicated that drought stress significantly repressed maize seedling growth. Further RNA sequencing analysis revealed that 6107 DEGs were responsive to drought stress and water recovery, with more down-regulated than up-regulated genes. Among the DEGs, the photosynthesis- and hormone-related genes were enriched in responses to drought stress and re-watering. Additionally, transcription factor genes from 37 families were differentially expressed among the three analyzed time-points. Gene ontology enrichment analyses of the DEGs indicated that 50 GO terms, including those related to photosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, oxidoreductase activities, nutrient metabolism and other drought-responsive pathways, were over-represented in the drought-treated seedlings. The content of gibberellin in drought treatment seedlings was decreased compared to that of control seedlings, while abscisic acid showed accumulated in the drought treated plants. The deep analysis of DEGs related to cell wall development indicated that these genes were prone to be down-regulated at drought treatment stage. CONCLUSIONS:Many genes that are differentially expressed in responses to drought stress and water recovery conditions affect photosynthetic systems and hormone biosynthesis. The identified DEGs, especially those encoding transcription factors, represent potential targets for developing drought-tolerant maize lines.
Project description:To unravel the molecular mechanisms underpinning maize (Zea mays L.) drought stress tolerance, we conducted comprehensive comparative transcriptome and physiological analyses of drought-tolerant YE8112 and drought-sensitive MO17 inbred line seedlings that had been exposed to drought treatment for seven days. Resultantly, YE8112 seedlings maintained comparatively higher leaf relative water and proline contents, greatly increased peroxidase activity, but decreased malondialdehyde content, than MO17 seedlings. Using an RNA sequencing (RNA-seq)-based approach, we identified a total of 10,612 differentially expressed genes (DEGs). From these, we mined out four critical sets of drought responsive DEGs, including 80 specific to YE8112, 5140 shared between the two lines after drought treatment (SD_TD), five DEGs of YE8112 also regulated in SD_TD, and four overlapping DEGs between the two lines. Drought-stressed YE8112 DEGs were primarily associated with nitrogen metabolism and amino-acid biosynthesis pathways, whereas MO17 DEGs were enriched in the ribosome pathway. Additionally, our physiological analyses results were consistent with the predicted RNA-seq-based findings. Furthermore, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis and the RNA-seq results of twenty representative DEGs were highly correlated (R² = 98.86%). Crucially, tolerant line YE8112 drought-responsive genes were predominantly implicated in stress signal transduction; cellular redox homeostasis maintenance; MYB, NAC, WRKY, and PLATZ transcriptional factor modulated; carbohydrate synthesis and cell-wall remodeling; amino acid biosynthesis; and protein ubiquitination processes. Our findings offer insights into the molecular networks mediating maize drought stress tolerance.
Project description:Drought stress, especially during the seedling stage, seriously limits the growth of maize and reduces production in the northeast of China. To investigate the molecular mechanisms of drought response in maize seedlings, proteome changes were analyzed. Using an isotopic tagging relative quantitation (iTRAQ) based method, a total of 207 differentially accumulated protein species (DAPS) were identified under drought stress in maize seedlings. The DAPS were classified into ten essential groups and analyzed thoroughly, which involved in signaling, osmotic regulation, protein synthesis and turnover, reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging, membrane trafficking, transcription related, cell structure and cell cycle, fatty acid metabolism, carbohydrate and energy metabolism, as well as photosynthesis and photorespiration. The enhancements of ROS scavenging, osmotic regulation, protein turnover, membrane trafficking, and photosynthesis may play important roles in improving drought tolerance of maize seedlings. Besides, the inhibitions of some protein synthesis and slowdown of cell division could reduce the growth rate and avoid excessive water loss, which is possible to be the main reasons for enhancing drought avoidance of maize seedlings. The incongruence between protein and transcript levels was expectedly observed in the process of confirming iTRAQ data by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis, which further indicated that the multiplex post-transcriptional regulation and post-translational modification occurred in drought-stressed maize seedlings. Finally, a hypothetical strategy was proposed that maize seedlings coped with drought stress by improving drought tolerance (via. promoting osmotic adjustment and antioxidant capacity) and enhancing drought avoidance (via. reducing water loss). Our study provides valuable insight to mechanisms underlying drought response in maize seedlings.
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.
Project description:The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade is an evolutionarily conserved signal transduction pathway that is involved in plant development and stress responses. As the first component of this phosphorelay cascade, mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinases (MAPKKKs) act as adaptors linking upstream signaling steps to the core MAPK cascade to promote the appropriate cellular responses; however, the functions of MAPKKKs in maize are unclear. Here, we identified 71 MAPKKK genes, of which 14 were novel, based on a computational analysis of the maize (Zea mays L.) genome. Using an RNA-seq analysis in the leaf, stem and root of maize under well-watered and drought-stress conditions, we identified 5,866 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), including 8 MAPKKK genes responsive to drought stress. Many of the DEGs were enriched in processes such as drought stress, abiotic stimulus, oxidation-reduction, and metabolic processes. The other way round, DEGs involved in processes such as oxidation, photosynthesis, and starch, proline, ethylene, and salicylic acid metabolism were clearly co-expressed with the MAPKKK genes. Furthermore, a quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis was performed to assess the relative expression levels of MAPKKKs. Correlation analysis revealed that there was a significant correlation between expression levels of two MAPKKKs and relative biomass responsive to drought in 8 inbred lines. Our results indicate that MAPKKKs may have important regulatory functions in drought tolerance in maize.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Drought stress is a major abiotic stress that causes huge losses in agricultural production. Proso millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) can efficiently adapt to drought stress and provides important information and gene resources to improve drought tolerance. However, its complex drought-responsive mechanisms remain unclear. RESULTS:Among 37 core Chinese proso millet cultivars, Jinshu 6 (JS6) was selected as the drought-sensitive test material, whereas Neimi 5 (NM5) was selected as the drought-tolerant test material under PEG-induced water stress. After sequencing, 1695 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were observed in JS6 and NM5 without PEG-induced water stress (JS6CK and NM5CK). A total of 833 and 2166 DEGs were found in the two cultivars under simulated drought by using 20% PEG-6000 for 6 (JS6T6 and NM5T6) and 24?h (JS6T24 and NM5T24), respectively. The DEGs in JS6T6 and JS6T24 treatments were approximately 0.298- and 0.754-fold higher than those in NM5T6 and NM5T24, respectively. Compared with the respective controls, more DEGs were found in T6 treatments than in T24 treatments. A delay in the transcriptional responses of the ROS scavenging system to simulated drought treatment and relatively easy recovery of the expression of photosynthesis-associated genes were observed in NM5. Compared with JS6, different regulation strategies were observed in the jasmonic acid (JA) signal transduction pathway of NM5. CONCLUSION:Under PEG-induced water stress, NM5 maintained highly stable gene expression levels. Compared with drought-sensitive cultivars, the different regulation strategies in the JA signal transduction pathway in drought-tolerant cultivars may be one of the driving forces underlying drought stress tolerance.
Project description:Non-irrigated crops in temperate climates and irrigated crops in arid climates are subjected to continuous cycles of water stress and re-watering. Thus, fast and efficient recovery from water stress may be among the key determinants of plant drought adaptation. The present study was designed to comparatively analyze the roles of drought resistance and drought recovery in drought adaptation and to investigate the physiological basis of genotypic variation in drought adaptation in maize (Zea mays) seedlings. As the seedlings behavior in growth associate with yield under drought, it could partly reflect the potential of drought adaptability. Growth and physiological responses to progressive drought stress and recovery were observed in seedlings of 10 maize lines. The results showed that drought adaptability is closely related to drought recovery (r = 0.714(**)), but not to drought resistance (r = 0.332). Drought induced decreases in leaf water content, water potential, osmotic potential, gas exchange parameters, chlorophyll content, Fv/Fm and nitrogen content, and increased H2O2 accumulation and lipid peroxidation. After recovery, most of these physiological parameters rapidly returned to normal levels. The physiological responses varied between lines. Further correlation analysis indicated that the physiological bases of drought resistance and drought recovery are definitely different, and that maintaining higher chlorophyll content (r = 0.874(***)) and Fv/Fm (r = 0.626(*)) under drought stress contributes to drought recovery. Our results suggest that both drought resistance and recovery are key determinants of plant drought adaptation, and that drought recovery may play a more important role than previously thought. In addition, leaf water potential, chlorophyll content and Fv/Fm could be used as efficient reference indicators in the selection of drought-adaptive genotypes.
Project description:Drought stress is the primary environmental factor that negatively influences plant growth and yield in cereal grain crops such as maize (Zea mays L.). Crop breeding efforts for enhanced drought resistance require improved knowledge of plant drought stress responses. In this study, we applied a 12-day water-deficit stress treatment to maize plants of two contrasting (drought tolerant ND476 and drought sensitive ZX978) hybrid cultivars at four (V12, VT, R1, and R4) crop growth stages and we report key cultivar-specific and growth-stage-specific molecular mechanisms regulating drought stress responses in maize. Based on the transcriptome analysis, a total of 3451 and 4088 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified in ND476 and ZX978 from the four experimental comparisons, respectively. These gene expression changes effected corresponding metabolic pathway responses related to drought tolerance in maize. In ND476, the DEGs associated with the ribosome, starch and sucrose metabolism, phenylpropanoid biosynthesis and phenylpropanoid metabolism pathways were predominant at the V12, VT, R2, and R4 stages, respectively, whereas those in ZX978 were related to ribosome, pentose and glucuronate interconversions (PGI), MAPK signaling and sulfur metabolism pathways, respectively. MapMan analysis revealed that DEGs related to secondary metabolism, lipid metabolism, and amino acid metabolism were universal across the four growth stages in ND476. Meanwhile, the DEGs involved in cell wall, photosynthesis and amino acid metabolism were universal across the four growth stages in ZX978. However, K-means analysis clustered those DEGs into clear and distinct expression profiles in ND476 and ZX978 at each stage. Several functional and regulatory genes were identified in the special clusters related to drought defense response. Our results affirmed that maize drought stress adaptation is a cultivar-specific response as well as a stage-specific response process. Additionally, our findings enrich the maize genetic resources and enhance our further understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating drought stress tolerance in maize. Further, the DEGs screened in this study may provide a foundational basis for our future targeted cloning studies.
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:Potato is an important food crop and its production is susceptible to drought. Drought stress in crop growth is usually multiple- or long-term. In this study, the drought tolerant potato landrace Jancko Sisu Yari was treated with drought stress, rehydration and re-dehydration, and RNA-seq was applied to analyze the characteristics of gene regulation during these treatments. The results showed that drought-responsive genes mainly involved photosynthesis, signal transduction, lipid metabolism, sugar metabolism, wax synthesis, cell wall regulation, osmotic adjustment. Potato also can be recovered well in the re-emergence of water through gene regulation. The recovery of rehydration mainly related to patatin, lipid metabolism, sugar metabolism, flavonoids metabolism and detoxification besides the reverse expression of the most of drought-responsive genes. The previous drought stress can produce a positive responsive ability to the subsequent drought by drought hardening. Drought hardening was not only reflected in the drought-responsive genes related to the modified structure and cell components, but also in the hardening of gene expression or the "memory" of drought-responsive genes. Abundant genes involved photosynthesis, signal transduction, sugar metabolism, protease and protease inhibitors, flavonoids metabolism, transporters and transcription factors were subject to drought hardening or memorized drought in potato.
Project description:Water is a critical environmental factor that restricts the geographic distribution of plants. Sheepgrass [Leymus chinensis, (Trin.) Tzvel] is an important forage grass in the Eurasia Steppe and a close germplasm for wheat and barley. This native grass adapts well to adverse environments such as cold, salinity, alkalinity and drought, and it can survive when the soil moisture may be less than 6% in dry seasons. However, little is known about how sheepgrass tolerates water stress at the molecular level. Here, drought stress experiment and RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) was performed in three pools of RNA samples (control, drought stress, and rewatering). We found that sheepgrass seedlings could still survive when the soil water content (SWC) was reduced to 14.09%. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) analysis showed that 7320 genes exhibited significant responses to drought stress. Of these DEGs, 2671 presented opposite expression trends before and after rewatering. Furthermore, ~680 putative sheepgrass-specific water responsive genes were revealed that can be studied deeply. Gene ontology (GO) annotation revealed that stress-associated genes were activated extensively by drought treatment. Interestingly, cold stress-related genes were up-regulated greatly after drought stress. The DEGs of MAPK and calcium signal pathways, plant hormone ABA, jasmonate, ethylene, brassinosteroid signal pathways, cold response CBF pathway participated coordinatively in sheepgrass drought stress response. In addition, we identified 288 putative transcription factors (TFs) involved in drought response, among them, the WRKY, NAC, AP2/ERF, bHLH, bZIP, and MYB families were enriched, and might play crucial and significant roles in drought stress response of sheepgrass. Our research provided new and valuable information for understanding the mechanism of drought tolerance in sheepgrass. Moreover, the identification of genes involved in drought response can facilitate the genetic improvement of crops by molecular breeding.