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New Phytol. 2010 Dec;188(4):1001-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03440.x. Epub 2010 Aug 26.

Deficiency in plastidic glutamine synthetase alters proline metabolism and transcriptomic response in Lotus japonicus under drought stress.

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Departamento de Bioquímica Vegetal y Biología Molecular, Facultad de Química, Universidad de Sevilla, Calle Profesor García González 1, 41012-Sevilla, Spain.


The role of plastidic glutamine synthetase (GS2) in proline biosynthesis and drought stress responses in Lotus japonicus was investigated using the GS2 mutant, Ljgln2-2. Wild-type (WT) and mutant plants were submitted to different lengths of time of water and nutrient solution deprivation. Several biochemical markers were measured and the transcriptional response to drought was determined by both quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and transcriptomics. The Ljgln2-2 mutant exhibited normal sensitivity to mild water deprivation, but physiological, biochemical and massive transcriptional differences were detected in the mutant, which compromised recovery (rehydration) following re-watering after severe drought stress. Proline accumulation during drought was substantially lower in mutant than in WT plants, and significant differences in the pattern of expression of the genes involved in proline metabolism were observed. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that about three times as many genes were regulated in response to drought in Ljgln2-2 plants compared with WT. The transcriptomic and accompanying biochemical data indicate that the Ljgln2-2 mutant is subject to more intense cellular stress than WT during drought. The results presented here implicate plastidic GS2 in proline production during stress and provide interesting insights into the function of proline in response to drought.

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