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Plant Cell Environ. 2012 Jan;35(1):136-49. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2011.02423.x. Epub 2011 Oct 12.

Comparative metabolomics of drought acclimation in model and forage legumes.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Wissenschaftspark Golm, Am Mühlenberg 1, Potsdam-Golm, D-14476, Germany.


Water limitation has become a major concern for agriculture. Such constraints reinforce the urgent need to understand mechanisms by which plants cope with water deprivation. We used a non-targeted metabolomic approach to explore plastic systems responses to non-lethal drought in model and forage legume species of the Lotus genus. In the model legume Lotus. japonicus, increased water stress caused gradual increases of most of the soluble small molecules profiled, reflecting a global and progressive reprogramming of metabolic pathways. The comparative metabolomic approach between Lotus species revealed conserved and unique metabolic responses to drought stress. Importantly, only few drought-responsive metabolites were conserved among all species. Thus we highlight a potential impediment to translational approaches that aim to engineer traits linked to the accumulation of compatible solutes. Finally, a broad comparison of the metabolic changes elicited by drought and salt acclimation revealed partial conservation of these metabolic stress responses within each of the Lotus species, but only few salt- and drought-responsive metabolites were shared between all. The implications of these results are discussed with regard to the current insights into legume water stress physiology.

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