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New Phytol. 2011 Apr;190(2):472-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03589.x. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Comparative analysis between plant species of transcriptional and metabolic responses to hypoxia.

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ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia.


• The variation in tolerance to low oxygen is likely explained by divergent sets of molecular and metabolic responses between species. • We analysed the versatility of the response to low oxygen of primary metabolism by comparing nine previously published metabolome profiling studies. Data were juxtaposed with expression profiles of genes encoding enzymes involved in the metabolic pathways of rice, Arabidopsis and poplar. Furthermore, full transcript profiles were compared to determine commonalities in the expression of orthologous genes and genes that serve similar functions. • Activation of fermentation and the accumulation of alanine plus succinate were observed in all species, but transcriptional regulation of these metabolic pathways varied. Global analysis of orthologue expression revealed that most differentially expressed genes either had no orthologues or were not affected in the other species. Expression analysis of nearly all gene clusters with common functions varied significantly between species. • The resemblance of the metabolic response to hypoxia indicates that this occurs independent of the level of tolerance. However, regulation of these processes at transcriptional level varied between species. An important role is suggested for signalling and post-transcriptional regulation to be involved in the mechanisms that lead to tolerance to hypoxia.

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