Stomatal opening/closing and drought-resistance in CAM plants


Transcript, protein and metabolite temporal dynamics in the CAM plant Agave

by Abraham P. E., Yin H., Borland A. M., Weighill D., Lim S. D., Cestari De Paoli H., Engle N., Jones P. C., Agh R., Weston D. J., Wullschleger S. D., Tschaplinski T., Jacobson D., Cushman J. C., Hettich R. L., Tuskan G. A., Yang X. (2016)

in Nature Plants 2, Article number: 16178 (2016) – doi:10.1038/nplants.2016.178 –


Already a proven mechanism for drought resilience, crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a specialized type of photosynthesis that maximizes water-use efficiency by means of an inverse (compared to C3and C4 photosynthesis) day/night pattern of stomatal closure/opening to shift CO2 uptake to the night, when evapotranspiration rates are low. A systems-level understanding of temporal molecular and metabolic controls is needed to define the cellular behaviour underpinning CAM.

Here, we report high-resolution temporal behaviours of transcript, protein and metabolite abundances across a CAM diel cycle and, where applicable, compare the observations to the well-established C3 model plant Arabidopsis.

A mechanistic finding that emerged is that CAM operates with a diel redox poise that is shifted relative to that in Arabidopsis.

Moreover, we identify widespread rescheduled expression of genes associated with signal transduction mechanisms that regulate stomatal opening/closing.

Controlled production and degradation of transcripts and proteins represents a timing mechanism by which to regulate cellular function, yet knowledge of how this molecular timekeeping regulates CAM is unknown.

Here, we provide new insights into complex post-transcriptional and -translational hierarchies that govern CAM in Agave.

These data sets provide a resource to inform efforts to engineer more efficient CAM traits into economically valuable C3 crops.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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