3 years ago

Expression of Arabidopsis class 1 phytoglobin (AtPgb1) delays death and degradation of the root apical meristem during severe PEG-induced water deficit.

Mohamed M Mira, Robert D Hill, Cassandra Hammond, Shuanglong Huang, Claudio Stasolla, Karuna Kapoor, Ian Dodd
Maintenance of a functional root is fundamental to plant survival in response to some abiotic stresses, such as water deficit. In this study, we found that overexpression of Arabidopsis class 1 phytoglobin (AtPgb1) alleviated the growth retardation of polyethylene glycol (PEG)-induced water stress by reducing programmed cell death (PCD) associated with protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). This was in contrast to PEG-stressed roots down-regulating AtPgb1 that exhibited extensive PCD and reduced expression of several attenuators of ER stress, including BAX Inhibitor-1 (BI-1). The death program experienced by the suppression of AtPgb1 in stressed roots was mediated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ethylene. Suppression of ROS synthesis or ethylene perception reduced PCD and partially restored root growth. The PEG-induced cessation of root growth was preceded by structural changes in the root apical meristem (RAM), including the loss of cell and tissue specification, possibly as a result of alterations in PIN1- and PIN4-mediated auxin accumulation at the root pole. These events were attenuated by the overexpression of AtPgb1 and aggravated when AtPgb1 was suppressed. Specifically, suppression of AtPgb1 compromised the functionality of the WOX5-expressing quiescent cells (QCs), leading to the early and premature differentiation of the adjacent columella stem cells and to a rapid reduction in meristem size. The expression and localization of other root domain markers, such as SCARECROW (SCR), which demarks the endodermis and QCs, and WEREWOLF (WER), which specifies the lateral root cap, were also most affected in PEG-treated roots with suppressed AtPgb1. Collectively, the results demonstrate that AtPgb1 exercises a protective role in roots exposed to lethal levels of PEG, and suggest a novel function of this gene in ensuring meristem functionality through the retention of cell fate specification.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erx371

DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erx371

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