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Candidate regulators and target genes of drought stress in needles and roots of Norway spruce.

Authors
  • Haas, Julia C1
  • Vergara, Alexander2
  • Serrano, Alonso R2
  • Mishra, Sanatkumar2
  • Hurry, Vaughan2
  • Street, Nathaniel R1
  • 1 Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden. , (Sweden)
  • 2 Umeå Plant Science Centre, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden. , (Sweden)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Tree Physiology
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Jul 05, 2021
Volume
41
Issue
7
Pages
1230–1246
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpaa178
PMID: 33416078
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Drought stress impacts seedling establishment, survival and whole-plant productivity. Molecular responses to drought stress have been most extensively studied in herbaceous species, mostly considering only aboveground tissues. Coniferous tree species dominate boreal forests, which are predicted to be exposed to more frequent and acute drought as a result of ongoing climate change. The associated impact at all stages of the forest tree life cycle is expected to have large-scale ecological and economic impacts. However, the molecular response to drought has not been comprehensively profiled for coniferous species. We assayed the physiological and transcriptional response of Picea abies (L.) H. Karst seedling needles and roots after exposure to mild and severe drought. Shoots and needles showed an extensive reversible plasticity for physiological measures indicative of drought-response mechanisms, including changes in stomatal conductance (gs), shoot water potential and abscisic acid (ABA). In both tissues, the most commonly observed expression profiles in response to drought were highly correlated with the ABA levels. Still, root and needle transcriptional responses contrasted, with extensive root-specific down-regulation of growth. Comparison between previously characterized Arabidopsis thaliana L. drought-response genes and P. abies revealed both conservation and divergence of transcriptional response to drought. In P. abies, transcription factors belonging to the ABA responsive element(ABRE) binding/ABRE binding factors ABA-dependent pathway had a more limited role. These results highlight the importance of profiling both above- and belowground tissues, and provide a comprehensive framework to advance the understanding of the drought response of P. abies. The results demonstrate that a short-term, severe drought induces severe physiological responses coupled to extensive transcriptome modulation and highlight the susceptibility of Norway spruce seedlings to such drought events. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected]

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