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J Exp Bot. 2010;61(1):143-56. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erp289.

Physiological and proteomic approaches to address heat tolerance during anthesis in rice (Oryza sativa L.).

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Plant Environment Laboratory, University of Reading, Cutbush Lane, Shinfield, Reading RG2 9AF, UK.


Episodes of high temperature at anthesis, which in rice is the most sensitive stage to temperature, are expected to occur more frequently in future climates. The morphology of the reproductive organs and pollen number, and changes in anther protein expression, were studied in response to high temperature at anthesis in three rice (Oryza sativa L.) genotypes. Plants were exposed to 6 h of high (38 degrees C) and control (29 degrees C) temperature at anthesis and spikelets collected for morphological and proteomic analysis. Moroberekan was the most heat-sensitive genotype (18% spikelet fertility at 38 degrees C), while IR64 (48%) and N22 (71%) were moderately and highly heat tolerant, respectively. There were significant differences among the genotypes in anther length and width, apical and basal pore lengths, apical pore area, and stigma and pistil length. Temperature also affected some of these traits, increasing anther pore size and reducing stigma length. Nonetheless, variation in the number of pollen on the stigma could not be related to measured morphological traits. Variation in spikelet fertility was highly correlated (r=0.97, n=6) with the proportion of spikelets with > or = 20 germinated pollen grains on the stigma. A 2D-gel electrophoresis showed 46 protein spots changing in abundance, of which 13 differentially expressed protein spots were analysed by MS/MALDI-TOF. A cold and a heat shock protein were found significantly up-regulated in N22, and this may have contributed to the greater heat tolerance of N22. The role of differentially expressed proteins and morphology during anther dehiscence and pollination in shaping heat tolerance and susceptibility is discussed.

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