Heat-induced changes in the abundance of wheat Rubisco activase isoforms

Degen, Gustaf E. and Orr, Douglas and Carmo-Silva, Elizabete (2021) Heat-induced changes in the abundance of wheat Rubisco activase isoforms. New Phytologist, 229 (3). pp. 1298-1311. ISSN 0028-646X

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The Triticum aestivum (wheat) genome encodes three isoforms of Rubisco activase (Rca) differing in thermostability, which could be exploited to improve the resilience of this crop to global warming. We hypothesized that elevated temperatures would cause an increase in the relative abundance of heat‐stable Rca1β. Wheat plants were grown at 25° C : 18°C (day : night) and exposed to heat stress (38° C : 22°C) for up to 5 d at pre‐anthesis. Carbon (C) assimilation, Rubisco activity, CA1Pase activity, transcripts of Rca1β, Rca2β, and Rca2α, and the quantities of the corresponding protein products were measured during and after heat stress. The transcript of Rca1β increased 40‐fold in 4 h at elevated temperatures and returned to the original level after 4 h upon return of plants to control temperatures. Rca1β comprised up to 2% of the total Rca protein in unstressed leaves but increased three‐fold in leaves exposed to elevated temperatures for 5 d and remained high at 4 h after heat stress. These results show that elevated temperatures cause rapid changes in Rca gene expression and adaptive changes in Rca isoform abundance. The improved understanding of the regulation of C assimilation under heat stress will inform efforts to improve wheat productivity and climate resilience.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
New Phytologist
Uncontrolled Keywords:
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Deposited On:
23 Sep 2020 10:05
Last Modified:
03 Jan 2024 00:26