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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2012 Dec;61:115-22. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2012.09.009. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Transcriptomic analysis of oxylipin biosynthesis genes and chemical profiling reveal an early induction of jasmonates in chickpea roots under drought stress.

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Institute of Sciences of Food Production C.N.R., Unit of Lecce, via Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy.


Drought is one of the major constraints in subtropical agriculture. Therefore improving water stress tolerance is of great importance to breed for drought tolerance in future. The first plant organ sensing dehydration is the root. Aim of the present work was to clarify the potential impact of the phyto-oxylipins pathway on drought tolerance of chickpea (Cicer arietinum), the third important legume crop worldwide. Therefore, we measured the expression of key genes involved in oxylipins metabolism by qPCR on samples from stressed and non-stressed roots of a drought-tolerant and a drought-sensitive chickpea variety using commercially available TaqMan assays. We demonstrate that the drought tolerant variety reacts to drought with sustained and earlier activation of a specific lipoxygenase (Mt-LOX 1) gene, two hydroperoxide lyases (Mt-HPL 1 and Mt-HPL 2), an allene oxide synthase (Mt-AOS), and an oxo-phytodienoate reductase (Mt-OPR). We further show that gene over-expression positively correlates with the levels of major oxylipin metabolites from the AOS branch of the pathway, which finally leads to the synthesis of jasmonates. Higher levels of jasmonic acid (JA), its precursor 12-oxophytodienoic acid (OPDA) and the active form JA-isoleucine (JA-Ile) were especially detected in the root tissues of the tolerant variety, prompting us to assume a role of jasmonates in the early signalling of drought stress in chickpea and its involvement in the tolerance mechanism of the drought-tolerant variety.

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