Comparative transcriptomic analyses of citrus cold‑resistant vs. sensitive rootstocks might suggest a relevant role of ABA signaling in triggering cold scion adaption
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Cita bibliográficaPrimo-Capella, A., Forner-Giner, M. Á., Martínez-Cuenca, M. R., & Terol, J. (2022). Comparative transcriptomic analyses of citrus cold-resistant vs. sensitive rootstocks might suggest a relevant role of ABA signaling in triggering cold scion adaption. BMC Plant Biology, 22(1), 1-26.
Background: The citrus genus comprises a number of sensitive tropical and subtropical species to cold stress, which limits global citrus distribution to certain latitudes and causes major economic loss. We used RNA-Seq technology to analyze changes in the transcriptome of Valencia delta seedless orange in response to long-term cold stress grafted on two frequently used citrus rootstocks: Carrizo citrange (CAR), considered one of the most cold-tolerant accessions; C. macrophylla (MAC), a very sensitive one. Our objectives were to identify the genetic mechanism that produce the tolerant or sensitive phenotypes in citrus, as well as to gain insights of the rootstock-scion interactions that induce the cold tolerance or sensitivity in the scion. Results: Plants were kept at 1 ºC for 30 days. Samples were taken at 0, 15 and 30 days. The metabolomic analysis showed a significant increase in the concentration of free sugars and proline, which was higher for the CAR plants. Hormone quantification in roots showed a substantially increased ABA concentration during cold exposure in the CAR roots, which was not observed in MAC. Different approaches were followed to analyze gene expression. During the stress treatment, the 0-15-day comparison yielded the most DEGs. The functional characterization of DEGs showed enrichment in GO terms and KEGG pathways related to abiotic stress responses previously described in plant cold adaption. The DEGs analysis revealed that several key genes promoting cold adaption were up-regulated in the CAR plants, and those repressing it had higher expression levels in the MAC samples. Conclusions: The metabolomic and transcriptomic study herein performed indicates that the mechanisms activated in plants shortly after cold exposure remain active in the long term. Both the hormone quantification and differential expression analysis suggest that ABA signaling might play a relevant role in promoting the cold hardiness or sensitiveness of Valencia sweet orange grafted onto Carrizo citrange or Macrophylla rootstocks, respectively. Our work provides new insights into the mechanisms by which rootstocks modulate resistance to abiotic stress in the production variety grafted onto them.