Abiotic Stress/Whole Plant Bio

Abstract

CS-4-1 - The role of the circadian clock in physiological and transcriptomic responses to abiotic stress

Sunday, July 15
1:03 PM - 1:23 PM

The rotation of the earth on its axis imposes an environmental cycle of day and night and plants possess an internal circadian clock to coordinate their daily physiological processes with these daily cycles. In addition to regulating the timing of normal metabolic processes, such as photosynthesis and nutrient acquisition, the circadian clock also modulates response to environmental stresses, such as to temperature extremes or to water limitation.  For example, many drought-responsive genes are under circadian regulation resulting in specific time-of-day responses to drought. Our experiments addressed how young Brassica rapa plants grown in a controlled environment with a steady supply of water responded when watering stopped. To associate the relevant transcriptomic changes with physiological responses, we coupled analysis of transcriptome and physiological parameters over a two-day time course in control and drought-stressed plants to provide the temporal resolution necessary for correlation of network modules with dynamic changes in stomatal conductance, photosynthetic rate, and photosystem II efficiency. We applied a co-expression network approach to associate rhythmic gene expression changes with physiological responses. The experiments show that even before the plants show obvious signs of drought stress such as wilting there are extensive changes in the activity of many genes and processes inside plant cells that vary according to the time of day. This approach enabled the identification of drought-responsive genes based on their differential rhythmic expression profiles in well-watered versus droughted networks and provided new insights into the dynamic physiological changes that occur during drought. 


 

C. Robertson McClung, PhD

Professor
Dartmouth College

C. Robertson McClung is the Patricia F. and William B. Hale 1944 Professor in the Arts and Sciences at Dartmouth College. He earned a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. at Queen’s and Dalhousie Universities in Canada before completing his Ph.D. at Michigan State University. He performed postdoctoral studies at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and joined the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth College in 1988. From 2004-9 he served as Associate Dean for the Sciences. His research focuses on the basis of endogenous biological clocks in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, and in crops such as Brassica rapa and soybean. He has been active in the American Society of Plant Biologists as chair of the Publications Committee (2003-6), President (2007-8), and chair of the Board of Trustees (2015-17). He is a Fellow of ASPB (2009) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010).

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