Transcriptomic view of survival during early seedling growth of the extremophyte Haloxylon ammodendron

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Seedling establishment in an extreme environment requires an integrated genomic and physiological response to survive multiple abiotic stresses. The extremophyte, Haloxylon ammodendron is a pioneer species capable of colonizing temperate desert sand dunes. We investigated the induced and basal transcriptomes in H. ammodendron under water-deficit stress during early seedling establishment. We find that not only drought-responsive genes, but multiple genes in pathways associated with salt, osmotic, cold, UV, and high-light stresses were induced, suggesting an altered regulatory stress response system. Additionally, H. ammodendron exhibited enhanced biotic stress tolerance by down-regulation of genes that were generally up-regulated during pathogen entry in susceptible plants. By comparing the H. ammodendron basal transcriptome to six closely related transcriptomes in Amaranthaceae, we detected enriched basal level transcripts in H. ammodendron that shows preadaptation to abiotic stress and pathogens. We found transcripts that were generally maintained at low levels and some induced only under abiotic stress in the stress-sensitive model, Arabidopsis thaliana to be highly expressed under basal conditions in the Amaranthaceae transcriptomes including H. ammodendron. H. ammodendron shows coordinated expression of genes that regulate stress tolerance and seedling development resource allocation to support survival against multiple stresses in a sand dune dominated temperate desert environment.

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Plant physiology and biochemistry : PPB

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