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A pivotal role for starch in the reconfiguration of 14C-partitioning and allocation in Arabidopsis thaliana under short-term abiotic stress.

  • Author(s): Dong, Shaoyun
  • Zhang, Joshua
  • Beckles, Diane M
  • et al.

Plant carbon status is optimized for normal growth but is affected by abiotic stress. Here, we used 14C-labeling to provide the first holistic picture of carbon use changes during short-term osmotic, salinity, and cold stress in Arabidopsis thaliana. This could inform on the early mechanisms plants use to survive adverse environment, which is important for efficient agricultural production. We found that carbon allocation from source to sinks, and partitioning into major metabolite pools in the source leaf, sink leaves and roots showed both conserved and divergent responses to the stresses examined. Carbohydrates changed under all abiotic stresses applied; plants re-partitioned 14C to maintain sugar levels under stress, primarily by reducing 14C into the storage compounds in the source leaf, and decreasing 14C into the pools used for growth processes in the roots. Salinity and cold increased 14C-flux into protein, but as the stress progressed, protein degradation increased to produce amino acids, presumably for osmoprotection. Our work also emphasized that stress regulated the carbon channeled into starch, and its metabolic turnover. These stress-induced changes in starch metabolism and sugar export in the source were partly accompanied by transcriptional alteration in the T6P/SnRK1 regulatory pathway that are normally activated by carbon starvation.

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