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Plant Physiol. 2019 Aug 8. pii: pp.00403.2019. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00403. [Epub ahead of print]

Genome-wide transcript and small RNA profiling reveals transcriptomic responses to heat stress.

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Shenzhen University CITY: Shenzhen China [CN].
UC Riverside CITY: Riverside STATE: CA POSTAL_CODE: 92507 United States Of America [US].
College of Life Sciences,Tianjin Normal University CITY: 393 BinShui Road, Tianjin, 300387 China [CN].
College of Life Sciences and Oceanography, Shenzhen University CITY: Shenzhen China [CN].
University of California, Riverside CITY: Riverside STATE: California POSTAL_CODE: 92521 United States Of America [US].
Shenzhen University CITY: Shenzhen China [CN]


Due to climate change, crops will experience increasing heat stress. However, the ways in which heat stress affects crop growth and yield at the molecular level remains poorly understood. We generated spatio-temporal mRNA and small RNA transcriptome data, spanning seven tissues at three timepoints, to investigate the effects of heat stress on vegetative and reproductive development in maize (Zea mays). Among the small RNAs significantly induced by heat stress was a plastid-derived 19-nucleotide (nt) small RNA, which is possibly the residual 'footprint' of a pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein. This suggests that heat stress induces the turnover of certain plastid transcripts. Consistently, genes responsible for photosynthesis in chloroplasts were repressed after heat stress. Analysis also revealed that the abundance of 24-nt siRNAs from transposable elements was conspicuously reduced by heat stress in tassels and roots; nearby genes showed a similar expression trend. Finally, specific microRNA and microRNA* species were identified, which in other plant species have not before been reported as responsive to heat stress. This study generated an atlas of genome-wide transcriptomic responses to heat stress, revealing several key regulators as potential targets for thermotolerance improvement in maize.

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