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Genetics. 2006 Dec;174(4):1811-24. Epub 2006 Oct 8.

The association among gene expression responses to nine abiotic stress treatments in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Department of Probability and Statistics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.


The identification and analysis of genes exhibiting large expression responses to several different types of stress may provide insights into the functional basis of multiple stress tolerance in plant species. This study considered whole-genome transcriptional profiles from Arabidopsis thaliana root and shoot organs under nine abiotic stress conditions (cold, osmotic stress, salt, drought, genotoxic stress, ultraviolet light, oxidative stress, wounding, and high temperature) and at six different time points of stress exposure (0.5, 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 hr). In roots, genomewide correlations between transcriptional responses to different stress treatments peaked following 1 hr of stress exposure, while in shoots, correlations tended to increase following 6 hr of stress exposure. The generality of stress responses at the transcriptional level was therefore time and organ dependent. A total of 67 genes were identified as exhibiting a statistically significant pattern of gene expression characterized by large transcriptional responses to all nine stress treatments. Most genes were identified from early to middle (1-6 hr) time points of stress exposure. Analysis of this gene set indicated that cell rescue/defense/virulence, energy, and metabolism functional classes were overrepresented, providing novel insight into the functional basis of multiple stress tolerance in Arabidopsis.

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