Indian Journal of Plant Physiology

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 24–39 | Cite as

Identification of proteins in response to terminal drought stress in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) using two-dimensional gel-electrophoresis and MALDI-TOF-TOF MS/MS

  • Adugna Abdi WoldesemayatEmail author
  • David M. Modise
  • Bongani K. Ndimba
Original Article


Terminal drought responses in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) leaf tissue (Btx642) was investigated under post-flowering drought stress. Phenotypic data measurements and changes in protein abundance were compared between observed mean values of traits and protein spots of the well-watered (control) and drought stressed plants. Protein separation of the replicated tissue was conducted using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Gels were stained using Coomassie Brilliant Blue and then scanned by Molecular Imager PharosFX Plus System (BIO-RAD). Sixteen spots among 86 produced were selected based on intensity or abundance and resolution for protein identification using Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionisation—time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-TOF MS/MS). Nine proteins with 6 functional categories and 3 subcellular localization were identified based on MASCOT search engine of which 77.7% were significantly expressed. This study, show how plants induce intracellular signals to activate drought-response and defense pathways by up-regulating key proteins and also bypass stress condition by down regulating the rate limiting enzymes. The key metabolic pathways involved in the drought stress response were shown with 5 functional classes. The findings demonstrate novel functions of the proteins with central role in maintaining intact metabolic and photosynthetic pathways in sorghum under drought stress. Our work provides initial information as the basis for modern breeding to enhance drought tolerance and productivity in sorghum.


Drought tolerance 2D-gel electrophoresis Leaf tissue MALDI-TOF-TOF MS/MS Protein identification Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench 



This work is based on the research supported by the South African Research Chairs Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation of South Africa and the National Agricultural Proteomics Research and Service Unit (NAPRSU), University of the Western Cape. The authors thank Professor Alan Christoffels of the South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI), for logistic help and kind support. The research materials were obtained from ICRISAT, India. University of South Africa provided financial and logistic support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

The article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Indian Society for Plant Physiology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adugna Abdi Woldesemayat
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  • David M. Modise
    • 3
  • Bongani K. Ndimba
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.South African Medical Research Council Bioinformatics Unit, South African National Bioinformatics InstituteUniversity of the Western CapeBellevilleSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Life and Consumer Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental SciencesUniversity of South AfricaFlorida, JohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Agriculture and Animal Health, College of Agriculture and Environmental SciencesUniversity of South AfricaFlorida, JohannesburgSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of BiotechnologyUniversity of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa
  5. 5.Agricultural Research Council, Infruitech-NietvoorbijStellenboschSouth Africa
  6. 6.FloridaSouth Africa

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