J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2013, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (11): 1147-1165.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12100

• Plant-environmental Interactions • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Early Transcriptomic Adaptation to Na2CO3 Stress Altered the Expression of a Quarter of the Total Genes in the Maize Genome and Exhibited Shared and Distinctive Profiles with NaCl and High pH Stresses

Li-Min Zhang1,2,3†, Xiang-Guo Liu1†, Xin-Ning Qu2, Ying Yu2, Si-Ping Han1, Yao Dou2, Yao-Yao Xu2, Hai-Chun Jing3* and Dong-Yun Hao1,2*   

  1. 1Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology, Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Changchun, China
    2Key Laboratory for Molecular Enzymology and Engineering of the Ministry of Education, Jilin University, Changchun, China
    3The Key Laboratory of Plant Resources, Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • Received:2013-04-15 Accepted:2013-08-16 Published:2013-10-21
  • About author:These authors contributed equally to this work.
    ** Corresponding authors Tel: +86 431 8706 3195; Fax: +86 431 8706 3080; E-mail: dyhao@cjaas.com Tel: +86 10 6283 6576; Fax: +86 10 6259 0833; E-mail: hcjing@ibcas.ac.cn


Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) presents a huge challenge to plants by the combined damaging effects of Na+, high pH, and CO32-. Little is known about the cellular responses to Na2CO3 stress. In this study, the transcriptome of maize (Zea mays L. cv. B73) roots exposed to Na2CO3 stress for 5 h was compared with those of NaCl and NaOH stresses. The expression of 8,319 genes, representing over a quarter of the total number of genes in the maize genome, was altered by Na2CO3 stress, and the downregulated genes (5,232) outnumbered the upregulated genes (3,087). The effects of Na2CO3 differed from those of NaCl and NaOH, primarily by downregulating different categories of genes. Pathways commonly altered by Na2CO3, NaCl, and NaOH were enriched in phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids, ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, as well as the metabolism of secondary metabolites. Genes for brassinosteroid biosynthesis were specifically upregulated by Na2CO3, while genes involved in ascorbate and aldarate metabolism, protein processing in the endoplasmic reticulum and by N-glycosylation, fatty acid biosynthesis, and the circadian rhythm were downregulated. This work provides the first holistic picture of early transcriptomic adaptation to Na2CO3 stress, and highlights potential molecular pathways that could be manipulated to improve tolerance in maize.

Zhang L-M, Liu X-G, Qu X-N, Yu Y, Han S-P, Dou Y, Xu Y-Y, Jing H-C, Hao D-Y (2013) Early transcriptomic adaptation to Na2CO3 stress altered the expression of a quarter \the total genes in the maize genome and exhibited shared and distinctive profiles with NaCl and high pH stresses. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 55(11), 1147–1165.

Key words: Maize (Zea mays L.) roots, Na2CO3 stress, RNA-Seq, saline and alkaline stress, transcriptomic adaptation

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