, 12:141 | Cite as

Integrated proteomics and metabolomics to unlock global and clonal responses of Eucalyptus globulus recovery from water deficit

  • Barbara Correia
  • Luis Valledor
  • Robert D. Hancock
  • Jenny Renaut
  • Jesús Pascual
  • Amadeu M. V. M. Soares
  • Glória Pinto
Original Article


Background and aims

Water availability is well known for impacting productivity of Eucalyptus but comprehensive knowledge on cellular pathways involved in recovery and tolerance is scarce. In this context, we aimed to unveil putative mechanisms that account for drought recovery of E. globulus, and to identify specific strategies that make a clone more adapted to water deficit.


We resorted to comparative proteome (using difference gel electrophoresis) and metabolome [using Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS)] analyses in two E. globulus clones that exhibit physiological differences in their capacity to tolerate water shortage and restoration; also, interpretable networks were constructed coupled with previously assessed physiological matrices in order to interrogate the large datasets generated and develop a clear and integrative analysis.


Our study enabled the separation and isolation of 2031 peptide spots, 217 of which were identified. GC–MS yielded the detection of 121 polar metabolites. Water shortage negatively affected photosynthesis, gene regulation, cell growth and secondary metabolites; enhanced photo protection, osmoprotection, and other defence-related pathways; and caused a shift from chloroplastic to mitochondrial energy generation. Recovery was characterised by upregulation of all previously described pathways. The analysis of the resilient clone AL-18, which presented a network very distinct from the responsive clone AL-10, reinforced the role of specific photosynthetic and defence-related proteins as key players in mediating drought tolerance and revealed new players: glutamine synthetase, malate dehydrogenase and isoflavone reductase-like protein.


This study provides a set of novel proteins and pathways involved in drought stress that represent potential drought tolerance markers for early selection of Eucalyptus.


DIGE Forest tree GC–MS Plant Stress 



This research was supported by Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional (FEDER) through Programa Operacional Fatores de Competitividade (COMPETE), and by National Funds through the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) within the Project PTDC/AGR-CFL/112996/2009. FCT/MEC, through national funds, and co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020 provide financial support to Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM – UID/AMB/50017). FCT also supported the fellowships of Barbara Correia (SFRH/BD/86448/2012) and Glória Pinto (SFRH/BPD/101669/2014). The James Hutton Institute receives support from by the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division of the Scottish Government. We thank Altri florestal for providing the plant material, and Lucinda Neves and Marta Pintó-Marijuan for technical support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Supplementary material

11306_2016_1088_MOESM1_ESM.docx (25 kb)
Supplementary Material 1 (DOCX 26 kb)
11306_2016_1088_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (1.1 mb)
Supplementary Material 2 (XLSX 1098 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Correia
    • 1
  • Luis Valledor
    • 2
  • Robert D. Hancock
    • 3
  • Jenny Renaut
    • 4
  • Jesús Pascual
    • 2
  • Amadeu M. V. M. Soares
    • 1
  • Glória Pinto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology & Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM)University of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Plant Physiology, Department of Organisms and Systems BiologyUniversity of OviedoOviedoSpain
  3. 3.Cell and Molecular SciencesThe James Hutton InstituteDundeeUK
  4. 4.Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN) DepartmentLuxembourg Institute of Science and TechnologyBelvauxLuxembourg

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