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Mol Plant. 2011 Jan;4(1):97-115. doi: 10.1093/mp/ssq058. Epub 2010 Oct 5.

Transcriptome analysis of high-temperature stress in developing barley caryopses: early stress responses and effects on storage compound biosynthesis.

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology and Forest Genetics, The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), PO Box 7080, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden. elke.mangelsen@vbsg.slu.se


High-temperature stress, like any abiotic stress, impairs the physiology and development of plants, including the stages of seed setting and ripening. We used the Affymetrix 22K Barley1 GeneChip microarray to investigate the response of developing barley (Hordeum vulgare) seeds, termed caryopses, after 0.5, 3, and 6 h of heat stress exposure; 958 induced and 1122 repressed genes exhibited spatial and temporal expression patterns that provide a detailed insight into the caryopses' early heat stress responses. Down-regulation of genes related to storage compound biosynthesis and cell growth provides evidence for a rapid impairment of the caryopsis' development. Increased levels of sugars and amino acids were indicative for both production of compatible solutes and feedback-induced accumulation of substrates for storage compound biosynthesis. Metadata analysis identified embryo and endosperm as primary locations of heat stress responses, indicating a strong impact of short-term heat stress on central developmental functions of the caryopsis. A comparison with heat stress responses in Arabidopsis shoots and drought stress responses in barley caryopses identified both conserved and presumably heat- and caryopsis-specific stress-responsive genes. Summarized, our data provide an important basis for further investigation of gene functions in order to aid an improved heat tolerance and reduced losses of yield in barley as a model for cereal crops.

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