Abraham, P. E. et al., 2017. PLoS ONE

Quantitative proteome profile of water-deficit stress responses in eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) leaves

Paul E. Abraham, Ben Garcia, Lee E. Gunter, Sara S. Jawdy, Dan A. Jacobson, Nancy L. Engle, Xiaohan Yang, Robert L. Hettich, Gerald A. Tuskan, and Timothy J. Tschaplinski
18 December 2017.  Nature Genetics 50: 138-150 (2018); DOI: 10.1038/s41588-017-0012-9


Drought stress is a recurring feature of world climate and the single most important factor influencing agricultural yield worldwide. Plants display highly variable, species-specific responses to drought and these responses are multifaceted, requiring physiological and morphological changes influenced by genetic and molecular mechanisms. Moreover, the reproducibility of water deficit studies is very cumbersome, which significantly impedes research on drought tolerance, because how a plant responds is highly influenced by the timing, duration, and intensity of the water deficit. Despite progress in the identification of drought-related mechanisms in many plants, the molecular basis of drought resistance remains to be fully understood in trees, particularly in poplar species because their wide geographic distribution results in varying tolerances to drought. Herein, we aimed to better understand this complex phenomenon in eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) by performing a detailed contrast of the proteome changes between two different water deficit experiments to identify functional intersections and divergences in proteome responses. We investigated plants subjected to cyclic water deficit and compared these responses to plants subjected to prolonged acute water deficit. In total, we identified 108,012 peptide sequences across both experiments that provided insight into the quantitative state of 22,737 Populus gene models and 8,199 functional protein groups in response to drought. Together, these datasets provide the most comprehensive insight into proteome drought responses in poplar to date and a direct proteome comparison between short period dehydration shock and cyclic, post-drought re-watering. Overall, this investigation provides novel insights into drought avoidance mechanisms that are distinct from progressive drought stress. Additionally, we identified proteins that have been associated as drought-relevant in previous studies. Importantly, we highlight the RD26 transcription factor as a gene regulated at both the transcript and protein level, regardless of species and drought condition, and, thus, represents a key, universal drought marker for Populus species.


Abraham PE, Garcia BJ, Gunter LE, Jawdy SS, Engle N, Yang X, et al. (2018) Quantitative proteome profile of water deficit stress responses in eastern cottonwood Populus deltoides leaves. PLoS ONE 13(2): e0190019. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190019

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