Manipulating root water supply elicits major shifts in the shoot proteome

Mehdi Mirzaei, Neda Soltani, Elham Sarhadi, Iniga S. George, Karlie A. Neilson, Dana Pascovici, Shila Shahbazian, Paul A. Haynes, Brian J. Atwell*, Ghasem Hosseini Salekdeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Substantial reductions in yield caused by drought stress can occur when parts of the root system experience water deficit even though other parts have sufficient access to soil water. To identify proteins associated to drought signaling, rice (Oryza sativa L. cv. IR64.) plants were transplanted into plastic pots with an internal wall dividing each pot into two equal compartments, allowing for equal distribution of soil and the root system between these compartments. The following treatments were applied: either both compartments were watered daily ("wet" roots), or water was withheld from both compartments ("dry" roots), or water was withheld from only one of the two compartments in each pot ("wet" and "dry" roots). The substantial differences in physiological parameters of different growth conditions were accompanied by differential changes in protein abundances. Label-free quantitative shotgun proteomics have resulted in identification of 1383 reproducible proteins across all three conditions. Differentially expressed proteins were categorized within 17 functional groups. The patterns observed were interesting in that in some categories such as protein metabolism and oxidation-reduction, substantial numbers of proteins were most abundant when leaves were receiving signals from "wet" and "dry" roots. In yet other categories such as transport, several key transporters were surprisingly abundant in leaves supported by partially or completely droughted root systems, especially plasma membrane and vacuolar transporters. Stress-related proteins behaved very consistently by increasing in droughted plants but notably some proteins were most abundant when roots of the same plant were growing in both wet and dry soils. Changes in carbohydrate-processing proteins were consistent with the passive accumulation of soluble sugars in shoots under drought, with hydrolysis of sucrose and starch synthesis both enhanced. These results suggest that drought signals are complex interactions and not simply the additive effect of water supply to the roots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-526
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2014


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