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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Plant Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333351

Research Project: Genetics and Genomics of Complex Traits in Grain Crops

Location: Plant Genetics Research

Title: A footprint of desiccation tolerance in the genome of Xerophyta viscosa

Author
item COSTA, MARIA-CECILIA - Wageningen University
item ARTUR, MARIANA - Wageningen University
item MAIA, JULIO - Wageningen University
item JONKHEER, EEF - Wageningen University
item DERKS, MARTIJN - Wageningen University
item NIJVEEN, HARM - Wageningen University
item WILLIAMS, BRETT - Queensland University Of Technology
item MUNDREE, SAGADEVAN - Queensland University Of Technology
item JIMENEZ-GOMEZ, JOSE - Wageningen University
item HESSELINK, THAMARA - Plant Research International - Netherlands
item SCHIJLEN, ELIO - Plant Research International - Netherlands
item LIGTERINK, WILCO - Wageningen University
item Oliver, Melvin
item FARRANT, JILL - University Of Cape Town
item HILHORST, HENK - Wageningen University

Submitted to: Nature Plants
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2017
Publication Date: 3/27/2017
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5729154
Citation: Costa, M.D., Artur, M.S., Maia, J., Jonkheer, E., Derks, M.F., Nijveen, H., Williams, B., Mundree, S.G., Jimenez-Gomez, J.M., Hesselink, T., Schijlen, E.G., Ligterink, W., Oliver, M.J., Farrant, J.M., Hilhorst, H.W. 2017. A footprint of desiccation tolerance in the genome of Xerophyta viscosa. Nature Plants. 3:17038. Available: http://www.nature.com/articles/nplants201738.

Interpretive Summary: To combat the impact of climate change on crop productivity we are constantly attempting to better understand how plants survive loss of water from their vegetative tissue in order to develop novel ways to produce drought tolerant crops. As part of this quest we have we produced a high-quality whole-genome sequence for the resurrection plant Xerophyta viscosa and assessed how and which genes respond to dehydration. Xerophyta viscosa is evolutionarily a close relative to cereals and it serves as an ideal model for understanding plant response to extreme water loss. Data revealed induction of genes typically associated with dehydration in seeds, and involvement of genes involved in hormone regulators of seed dehydration tolerance and longevity respectively. Dehydration resulted in an ordered turning off of numerous genes, located in specific regions of the genome, which possibly triggers the expression of dehydraton tolerance in drying tissues. X. viscosa engages anti-senescence (aging and death) mechanisms suggesting that vegetative dehydration tolerance is uncoupled from drought-induced senescence. We propose that vegetative dehydration tolerance arose, in part, by redirection of genetic information for desiccation tolerance in seeds. These data provide novel strategies, based on redirecting the expression of genes, to generate dehydration (drought) tolerant cereal crops.

Technical Abstract: To better understand the genetic mechanisms enabling vegetative desiccation tolerance (DT) we produced a high-quality whole-genome sequence for the resurrection plant Xerophyta viscosa and assessed transcriptome changes in response to desiccation and ABA. Phylogenetically close to cereals, it serves as an ideal model for understanding plant requisites for extreme water loss and ultimate design of drought tolerant crops. Data revealed induction of transcripts typically associated with DT in seeds, and involvement of structural orthologues of ABI3 and ABI5, regulators of seed DT and longevity respectively. Dehydration resulted in an ordered down regulation of numerous genes, located in ARIds, which possibly triggers the expression of DT in drying tissues. X. viscosa engages anti-senescence mechanisms suggesting that vegetative DT is uncoupled from drought-induced senescence. We propose that vegetative DT arose, in part, by redirection of genetic information for DT in seeds. Further modifications occurred in different species as an adaptation to climatic demands of the environments in which they evolved.