Transcriptional and metabolic changes in the desiccation tolerant plant Craterostigma plantagineum during recurrent exposures to dehydration
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Multiple dehydration/rehydration treatments improve the adaptation of Craterostigma plantagineum to desiccation by accumulating stress-inducible transcripts, proteins and metabolites. These molecules serve as stress imprints or memory and can lead to increased stress tolerance.
It has been reported that repeated exposure to dehydration may generate stronger reactions during a subsequent dehydration treatment in plants. This stimulated us to address the question whether the desiccation tolerant resurrection plant Craterostigma plantagineum has a stress memory. The expression of four representative stress-related genes gradually increased during four repeated dehydration/rehydration treatments in C. plantagineum. These genes reflect a transcriptional memory and are trainable genes. In contrast, abundance of chlorophyll synthesis/degradation-related transcripts did not change during dehydration and remained at a similar level as in the untreated tissues during the recovery phase. During the four dehydration/rehydration treatments the level of ROS pathway-related transcripts, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, proline, and sucrose increased, whereas H2O2 content and electrolyte leakage decreased. Malondialdehyde (MDA) content did not change during the dehydration, which indicates a gain of stress tolerance. At the protein level, increased expression of four representative stress-related proteins showed that the activated stress memory can persist over several days. The phenomenon described here could be a general feature of dehydration stress memory responses in resurrection plants.
KeywordsDehydration stress Resurrection plants Stress memory Stress-related genes
5-Aminolevulinic acid dehydratase
Mg-protoporphyrin IX methyltransferase
Copper/zinc superoxide dismutase
Early dehydration responsive 1
Elongation factor 1-alpha
Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
Late embryogenesis abundant
Manganese superoxide dismutase
4-Nitro-blue tetrazolium chloride
Pheophorbide a oxygenase
Red chlorophyll catabolite reductase
Reactive oxygen species
Relative water content
Xun Liu is supported by the China Scholarship Council (2016-2020). Dinakar C acknowledges the support from the Indian National Science Academy (INSA-India) and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft-GZ:BA712/19-1 (DFG, Germany). The authors would like to thank Christiane Buchholz for growing the plants and Prof. Dr. Lukas Schreiber and Dr. Viktoria Zeisler-Diehl (IZMB, University of Bonn) for supporting the measurements of sucrose and octulose.
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