Transcriptome, carbohydrate, and phytohormone analysis of Petunia hybrida reveals a complex disturbance of plant functional integrity under mild chilling stress.
Cultivation of chilling-tolerant ornamental crops at lower temperature could reduce the energy demands of heated greenhouses. To provide a better understanding of how sub-optimal temperatures (12°C vs. 16°C) affect growth of the sensitive Petunia hybrida cultivar ‘SweetSunshine Williams’, the transcriptome, carbohydrate metabolism, and phytohormone homeostasis were monitored in aerial plant parts over 4 weeks by use of a microarray, enzymatic assays and GC-MS/MS. The data revealed three consecutive phases of chilling response. The first days were marked by a strong accumulation of sugars, particularly in source leaves, preferential up-regulation of genes in the same tissue and down-regulation of several genes in the shoot apex, especially those involved in the abiotic stress response. The midterm phase featured a partial normalization of carbohydrate levels and gene expression. After 3 weeks of chilling exposure, a new stabilized balance was established. Reduced hexose levels in the shoot apex, reduced ratios of sugar levels between the apex and source leaves and a higher apical sucrose/hexose ratio, associated with decreased activity and expression of cell wall invertase, indicate that prolonged chilling induced sugar accumulation in source leaves at the expense of reduced sugar transport to and reduced sucrose utilization in the shoot. This was associated with reduced levels of indole-3-acetic acid and abscisic acid in the apex and high numbers of differentially, particularly up-regulated genes, especially in the source leaves, including those regulating histones, ethylene action, transcription factors, and a jasmonate-ZIM-domain protein. Transcripts of one Jumonji C domain containing protein and one expansin accumulated in source leaves throughout the chilling period. The results reveal a dynamic and complex disturbance of plant function in response to mild chilling, opening new perspectives for the comparative analysis of differently tolerant cultivars.
Bauerfeind, M.A.; Winkelmann, T.; Franken, P.; Druege, U. 2015. Transcriptome, carbohydrate, and phytohormone analysis of Petunia hybrida reveals a complex disturbance of plant functional integrity under mild chilling stress. Frontiers in Plant Science, DOI:10.3389/fpls.2015.00583.