Organ-specific defence strategies of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) during early phase of water deficit
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Drought is one of the major factors that limits crop production and reduces yield. To understand the early response of plants under nearly natural conditions, pepper plants (Capsicum annuum L.) were grown in a greenhouse and stressed by withholding water for 1 week. Plants adapted to the decreasing water content of the soil by adjustment of their osmotic potential in root tissue. As a consequence of drought, strong accumulation of raffinose, glucose, galactinol and proline was detected in the roots. In contrast, in leaves the levels of fructose, sucrose and also galactinol increased. Due to the water deficit cadaverine, putrescine, spermidine and spermine accumulated in leaves, whereas the concentration of polyamines was reduced in roots. To study the molecular basis of these responses, a combined approach of suppression subtractive hybridisation and microarray technique was performed on the same material. A total of 109 unique ESTs were detected as responsive to drought, while additional 286 ESTs were selected from the bulk of rare transcripts on the array. The metabolic profiles of stressed pepper plants are discussed with respect to the transcriptomic changes detected, while attention is given to the differences between defence strategies of roots and leaves.
KeywordsDrought Gene expression Metabolic Osmotic potential Organ-specific response
The authors gratefully acknowledge E. Boland, B. De Vos and L. Solinhac for their valuable technical assistance and Dr. Bodo Trognitz (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Department of Health and Environment/Bioresources, PICME) for his valuable comments on the manuscript. The work of IM was supported by the project COST FA 0605.
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