A metabolomic study in oats (Avena sativa) highlights a drought tolerance mechanism based upon salicylate signalling pathways and the modulation of carbon, antioxidant and photo-oxidative metabolism

Javier Sánchez-Martín, Jim Heald, Alison Kingston-Smith, Ana Winters, Diego Rubiales, Mariluz Sanz, Luis A. J. Mur, Elena Prats

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Abstract

Although a wealth of information is available on the induction of one or several drought-related responses in different species, little is known of how their timing, modulation and crucially integration influence drought tolerance. Based upon metabolomic changes in oat (Avena sativaL.), we have defined key processes involved in drought tolerance. During a time course of increasing water deficit, metabolites from leaf samples were profiled using direct infusion-electrospray mass spectroscopy (DI-ESI-MS) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) ESI-MS/MS and analysed using principal component analysis (PCA) and discriminant function analysis (DFA). The involvement of metabolite pathways was confirmed through targeted assays of key metabolites and physiological experiments. We demonstrate an early accumulation of salicylic acid (SA) influencing stomatal opening, photorespiration and antioxidant defences before any change in the relative water content. These changes are likely to maintain plant water status, with any photoinhibitory effect being counteracted by an efficient antioxidant capacity, thereby representing an integrated mechanism of drought tolerance in oats. We also discuss these changes in relation to those engaged at later points, consequence of the different water status in susceptible and resistant genotypes. Although a wealth of information is available on drought related responses, little is known about their timing, modulation and integration. Based on metabolomic changes in oat we demonstrate a novel role for salicylic acid in maintaining plant water status. This is coupled to induction of antioxidant and respiratory pathways to deal with the increasing oxidative stress promoted by the low CO 2 concentration caused by partial stomatal closure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1434-1452
Number of pages19
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Volume38
Issue number7
Early online date04 Mar 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 03 Jun 2015

Keywords

  • metabolomics
  • photorespiration
  • salicylic acid
  • Metabolomics
  • Salicylic acid
  • Photorespiration
  • Carbon/metabolism
  • Proline/metabolism
  • Glyoxylates/metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Chlorophyll/metabolism
  • Glutathione/metabolism
  • Avena/physiology
  • Water/metabolism
  • Cell Respiration
  • Antioxidants/metabolism
  • Droughts
  • Cell Membrane/metabolism
  • Light
  • Plant Leaves/physiology
  • Plant Stomata/physiology
  • Salicylic Acid/metabolism

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