PLoS ONE, 01 January 2017, Vol.12(6), p.e0177883
Plants adapt to the environment by either long-term genome evolution or by acclimatization processes where the cellular processes and metabolism of the plant are adjusted within the existing potential in the genome. Here we studied the adaptation strategies in date palm, Phoenix dactylifera, under mild heat, drought and combined heat and drought by transcriptomic and metabolomic profiling. In transcriptomics data, combined heat and drought resembled heat response, whereas in metabolomics data it was more similar to drought. In both conditions, soluble carbohydrates, such as fucose, and glucose derivatives, were increased, suggesting a switch to carbohydrate metabolism and cell wall biogenesis. This result is consistent with the evidence from transcriptomics and cis-motif analysis. In addition, transcriptomics data showed transcriptional activation of genes related to reactive oxygen species in all three conditions (drought, heat, and combined heat and drought), suggesting increased activity of enzymatic antioxidant systems in cytosol, chloroplast and peroxisome. Finally, the genes that were differentially expressed in heat and combined heat and drought stresses were significantly enriched for circadian and diurnal rhythm motifs, suggesting new stress avoidance strategies.
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