Abscisic acid mediation of drought priming-enhanced heat tolerance in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and Arabidopsis

Xiaxiang Zhang, Xiuyun Wang, Lili Zhuang, Yanli Gao, Bingru Huang

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Abscisic acid (ABA) may play roles in mediating cross stress tolerance in plants. The objectives of this study were to investigate the priming effects of drought and ABA on heat tolerance and to determine how ABA may be involved in enhanced heat tolerance by drought. Focusing on the transcriptional level, two independent experiments were conducted, using a perennial grass species, tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and Arabidopsis. In experiment 1, tall fescue plants were exposed to mild drought by withholding irrigation for 8 days (drought priming) and foliar sprayed with ABA or an ABA-synthesis inhibitor (fluridone). After that they were subsequently subjected to heat stress (38/33°C day/night) for 25 days in growth chambers. In experiment 2, Arabidopsis Columbia ecotype (wild-type) and ABA-deficient mutant (aba3-1, CS157) were pre-treated with drought priming and then exposed to heat stress (45/40°C) for 3 days. The physiological analysis demonstrated that both drought priming and foliar application of ABA-enhanced heat tolerance in tall fescue, while drought priming had no significant effects on heat tolerance in ABA-deficient Arabidopsis plants. Application of fluridone to tall fescue and ABA-deficient mutants of Arabidopsis exhibited diminished or attenuated positive effects of drought priming on heat tolerance. ABA mediation of acquired heat tolerance by drought priming was associated with the upregulation of CDPK3, MPK3, DREB2A, AREB3, MYB2, MYC4, HsfA2, HSP18, and HSP70. Our study revealed the roles of ABA in drought priming-enhanced heat tolerance, which may involve transcriptional regulation for stress signaling, ABA responses and heat protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-501
Number of pages14
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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