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Programmed proteome response for drought avoidance/tolerance in the root of a C(3) xerophyte (wild watermelon) under water deficits



Programmed proteome response for drought avoidance/tolerance in the root of a C(3) xerophyte (wild watermelon) under water deficits



Plant and Cell Physiology 49(2): 226-241



Water availability is a critical determinant for the growth and ecological distribution of terrestrial plants. Although some xerophytes are unique regarding their highly developed root architecture and the successful adaptation to arid environments, virtually nothing is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying this adaptation. Here, we report physiological and molecular responses of wild watermelon (Citrullus lanatus sp.), which exhibits extraordinarily high drought resistance. At the early stage of drought stress, root development of wild watermelon was significantly enhanced compared with that of the irrigated plants, indicating the activation of a drought avoidance mechanism for absorbing water from deep soil layers. Consistent with this observation, comparative proteome analysis revealed that many proteins induced in the early stage of drought stress are involved in root morphogenesis and carbon/nitrogen metabolism, which may contribute to the drought avoidance via the enhancement of root growth. On the other hand, lignin synthesis-related proteins and molecular chaperones, which may function in the enhancement of physical desiccation tolerance and maintenance of protein integrity, respectively, were induced mostly at the later stage of drought stress. Our findings suggest that this xerophyte switches survival strategies from drought avoidance to drought tolerance during the progression of drought stress, by regulating its root proteome in a temporally programmed manner. This study provides new insights into the complex molecular networks within plant roots involved in the adaptation to adverse environments.

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Accession: 021609647

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 18178965

DOI: 10.1093/pcp/pcm180


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