Physiological and Proteomic Signatures Reveal Mechanisms of Superior Drought Resilience in Pearl Millet Compared to Wheat

Ghatak, A and Chaturvedi, P and Bachmann, G and Valledor, L and Ramšak, Z and Bazargani, M M and Bajaj, P and Jegadeesan, S and Li, W and Sun, X and Gruden, K and Varshney, R K and Weckwerth, W (2021) Physiological and Proteomic Signatures Reveal Mechanisms of Superior Drought Resilience in Pearl Millet Compared to Wheat. Frontiers in Plant Science (TSI), 11. pp. 1-24. ISSN 1664-462X

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Presently, pearl millet and wheat are belonging to highly important cereal crops. Pearl millet, however, is an under-utilized crop, despite its superior resilience to drought and heat stress in contrast to wheat. To investigate this in more detail, we performed comparative physiological screening and large scale proteomics of drought stress responses in drought-tolerant and susceptible genotypes of pearl millet and wheat. These chosen genotypes are widely used in breeding and farming practices. The physiological responses demonstrated large differences in the regulation of root morphology and photosynthetic machinery, revealing a stay-green phenotype in pearl millet. Subsequent tissue-specific proteome analysis of leaves, roots and seeds led to the identification of 12,558 proteins in pearl millet and wheat under well-watered and stress conditions. To allow for this comparative proteome analysis and to provide a platform for future functional proteomics studies we performed a systematic phylogenetic analysis of all orthologues in pearl millet, wheat, foxtail millet, sorghum, barley, brachypodium, rice, maize, Arabidopsis, and soybean. In summary, we define (i) a stay-green proteome signature in the drought-tolerant pearl millet phenotype and (ii) differential senescence proteome signatures in contrasting wheat phenotypes not capable of coping with similar drought stress. These different responses have a significant effect on yield and grain filling processes reflected by the harvest index. Proteome signatures related to root morphology and seed yield demonstrated the unexpected intra- and interspecies-specific biochemical plasticity for stress adaptation

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Genetic Gains
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate resilience, Senescence, Cereals, Drought stress, Proteomics, Stay-green trait, Secure food production, Marker Assisted breeding
Subjects: Others > Cereals
Mandate crops > Millets > Pearl Millet
Others > Genetics and Genomics
Others > Wheat
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 13 May 2021 09:21
Last Modified: 13 May 2021 09:21
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: We are thankful to Ms. Annapurna Chitikineni, Senior Manager CEGSB, ICRISAT, Patancheru, Hyderabad, India, Dr. Michele Grieco from IPK Gatersleben, Germany, and Dr. Markus Teige from Max Perutz Labs, Vienna, Austria for arranging seeds of pearl millet and wheat, respectively. We would also like to thank the gardeners Andreas Schröfl and Thomas Joch for excellent plant cultivation in the glasshouse facility of Molecular Systems Biology Lab (MOSYS), Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
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