IJMS, Vol. 24, Pages 9298: Comparative Physiological and Transcriptome Analysis Reveals Potential Pathways and Specific Genes Involved in Waterlogging Tolerance in Apple Rootstocks
International Journal of Molecular Sciences doi: 10.3390/ijms24119298
Apple (Malus &times; domestica Borkh.) is one of the most cultivated fruit crops in China. Apple trees frequently encounter waterlogging stress, mainly due to excess rainfall, soil compaction, or poor soil drainage, results in yellowing leaves and declined fruit quality and yield in some regions. However, the mechanism underlying the response to waterlogging has not been well elucidated. Therefore, we performed a physiological and transcriptomic analysis to examine the differential responses of two apple rootstocks (waterlogging-tolerant M. hupehensis and waterlogging-sensitive M. toringoides) to waterlogging stress. The results showed that M. toringoides displayed more severe leaf chlorosis during the waterlogging treatment than M. hupehensis. Compared with M. hupehensis, the more severe leaf chlorosis induced by waterlogging stress in M. toringoides was highly correlated with increased electrolyte leakage and superoxide radicals, hydrogen peroxide accumulation, and increased stomata closure. Interestingly, M. toringoides also conveyed a higher ethylene production under waterlogging stress. Furthermore, RNA-seq revealed that a total of 13,913 common differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were differentially regulated between M. hupehensis and M. toringoides under waterlogging stress, especially those DEGs involved in the biosynthesis of flavonoids and hormone signaling. This suggests a possible link of flavonoids and hormone signaling to waterlogging tolerance. Taken together, our data provide the targeted genes for further investigation of the functions, as well as for future molecular breeding of waterlogging-tolerant apple rootstocks.
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