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      The use of metabolomics to dissect plant responses to abiotic stresses


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          Plant metabolism is perturbed by various abiotic stresses. As such the metabolic network of plants must be reconfigured under stress conditions in order to allow both the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis and the production of compounds that ameliorate the stress. The recent development and adoption of metabolomics and systems biology approaches enable us not only to gain a comprehensive overview, but also a detailed analysis of crucial components of the plant metabolic response to abiotic stresses. In this review we introduce the analytical methods used for plant metabolomics and describe their use in studies related to the metabolic response to water, temperature, light, nutrient limitation, ion and oxidative stresses. Both similarity and specificity of the metabolic responses against diverse abiotic stress are evaluated using data available in the literature. Classically discussed stress compounds such as proline, γ-amino butyrate and polyamines are reviewed, and the widespread importance of branched chain amino acid metabolism under stress condition is discussed. Finally, where possible, mechanistic insights into metabolic regulatory processes are discussed.

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          The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00018-012-1091-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Abiotic stress, the field environment and stress combination.

          Farmers and breeders have long known that often it is the simultaneous occurrence of several abiotic stresses, rather than a particular stress condition, that is most lethal to crops. Surprisingly, the co-occurrence of different stresses is rarely addressed by molecular biologists that study plant acclimation. Recent studies have revealed that the response of plants to a combination of two different abiotic stresses is unique and cannot be directly extrapolated from the response of plants to each of the different stresses applied individually. Tolerance to a combination of different stress conditions, particularly those that mimic the field environment, should be the focus of future research programs aimed at developing transgenic crops and plants with enhanced tolerance to naturally occurring environmental conditions.
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            Genes and salt tolerance: bringing them together.

            Rana Munns (2005)
            Salinity tolerance comes from genes that limit the rate of salt uptake from the soil and the transport of salt throughout the plant, adjust the ionic and osmotic balance of cells in roots and shoots, and regulate leaf development and the onset of senescence. This review lists some candidate genes for salinity tolerance, and draws together hypotheses about the functions of these genes and the specific tissues in which they might operate. Little has been revealed by gene expression studies so far, perhaps because the studies are not tissue-specific, and because the treatments are often traumatic and unnatural. Suggestions are made to increase the value of molecular studies in identifying genes that are important for salinity tolerance.
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              Two transcription factors, DREB1 and DREB2, with an EREBP/AP2 DNA binding domain separate two cellular signal transduction pathways in drought- and low-temperature-responsive gene expression, respectively, in Arabidopsis.

              Plant growth is greatly affected by drought and low temperature. Expression of a number of genes is induced by both drought and low temperature, although these stresses are quite different. Previous experiments have established that a cis-acting element named DRE (for dehydration-responsive element) plays an important role in both dehydration- and low-temperature-induced gene expression in Arabidopsis. Two cDNA clones that encode DRE binding proteins, DREB1A and DREB2A, were isolated by using the yeast one-hybrid screening technique. The two cDNA libraries were prepared from dehydrated and cold-treated rosette plants, respectively. The deduced amino acid sequences of DREB1A and DREB2A showed no significant sequence similarity, except in the conserved DNA binding domains found in the EREBP and APETALA2 proteins that function in ethylene-responsive expression and floral morphogenesis, respectively. Both the DREB1A and DREB2A proteins specifically bound to the DRE sequence in vitro and activated the transcription of the b-glucuronidase reporter gene driven by the DRE sequence in Arabidopsis leaf protoplasts. Expression of the DREB1A gene and its two homologs was induced by low-temperature stress, whereas expression of the DREB2A gene and its single homolog was induced by dehydration. Overexpression of the DREB1A cDNA in transgenic Arabidopsis plants not only induced strong expression of the target genes under unstressed conditions but also caused dwarfed phenotypes in the transgenic plants. These transgenic plants also revealed freezing and dehydration tolerance. In contrast, overexpression of the DREB2A cDNA induced weak expression of the target genes under unstressed conditions and caused growth retardation of the transgenic plants. These results indicate that two independent families of DREB proteins, DREB1 and DREB2, function as trans-acting factors in two separate signal transduction pathways under low-temperature and dehydration conditions, respectively.

                Author and article information

                +49-331-5678211 , +49-331-5678408 , fernie@mpimp-golm.mpg.de
                Cell Mol Life Sci
                Cell. Mol. Life Sci
                Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
                SP Birkhäuser Verlag Basel (Basel )
                12 August 2012
                12 August 2012
                October 2012
                : 69
                : 19
                : 3225-3243
                Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany
                © The Author(s) 2012
                Multi-Author Review
                Custom metadata
                © Springer Basel AG 2012

                Molecular biology
                metabolic response,plants,metabolomics,abiotic stress,enzyme complex,branched chain amino acid


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