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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 34(7)

Desiccation-tolerance specific gene expression in leaf tissue of the resurrection plant Sporobolus stapfianus

Tuan Ngoc Le A B, Cecilia K. Blomstedt A, Jianbo Kuang A C, Jennifer Tenlen A D, Donald F. Gaff A, John D. Hamill A, Alan D. Neale A E

A School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Vic. 3800, Australia.
B Present address: Department of Biology, University of York, PO Box 373 York YO10 5YW, UK.
C Present address: EcoDirections, Level 5/217 George St, Brisbane, Qld 4000, Australia.
D Present address: Priess Laboratory, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Mailstop A3-013, PO Box 19024, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA.
E Corresponding author. Email: alan.neale@sci.monash.edu.au
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The desiccation tolerant grass Sporobolus stapfianus Gandoger can modulate cellular processes to prevent the imposition of irreversible damage to cellular components by water deficit. The cellular processes conferring this ability are rapidly attenuated by increased water availability. This resurrection plant can quickly restore normal metabolism. Even after loss of more than 95% of its total water content, full rehydration and growth resumption can occur within 24 h. To study the molecular mechanisms of desiccation tolerance in S. stapfianus, a cDNA library constructed from dehydration-stressed leaf tissue, was differentially screened in a manner designed to identify genes with an adaptive role in desiccation tolerance. Further characterisation of four of the genes isolated revealed they are strongly up-regulated by severe dehydration stress and only in desiccation-tolerant tissue, with three of these genes not being expressed at detectable levels in hydrated or dehydrating desiccation-sensitive tissue. The nature of the putative proteins encoded by these genes are suggestive of molecular processes associated with protecting the plant against damage caused by desiccation and include a novel LEA-like protein, and a pore-like protein that may play an important role in peroxisome function during drought stress. A third gene product has similarity to a nuclear-localised protein implicated in chromatin remodelling. In addition, a UDPglucose glucosyltransferase gene has been identified that may play a role in controlling the bioactivity of plant hormones or secondary metabolites during drought stress.

Keywords: cellular protection, drought tolerance, gene expression, LEA-like protein, resurrection plant, UDP glucose glucosyltransferase.

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