Tissue-specific transcriptome profiles identify functional differences key to understanding whole plant response to life in variable salinity

Mitchell W. Booth, Martin F. Breed, Gary A. Kendrick, Philipp E. Bayer, Anita A. Severn-Ellis, Elizabeth A. Sinclair

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Abstract

Plants endure environmental stressors via adaptation and phenotypic plasticity. Studying these mechanisms in seagrasses is extremely relevant as they are important primary producers and functionally significant carbon sinks. These mechanisms are not well understood at the tissue level in seagrasses. Using RNA-seq, we generated transcriptome sequences from tissue of leaf, basal leaf meristem and root organs of Posidonia australis, establishing baseline in situ transcriptomic profiles for tissues across a salinity gradient. Samples were collected from four P. australis meadows growing in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Analysis of gene expression showed significant differences between tissue types, with more variation among leaves than meristem or roots. Gene ontology enrichment analysis showed the differences were largely due to the role of photosynthesis, plant growth and nutrient absorption in leaf, meristem and root organs, respectively. Differential gene expression of leaf and meristem showed upregulation of salinity regulation processes in higher salinity meadows. Our study highlights the importance of considering leaf meristem tissue when evaluating whole-plant responses to environmental change.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbio059147
Number of pages11
JournalBiology Open
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Posidonia australis
  • Gene expression
  • Leaf
  • Meristem
  • RNA-seq
  • Seagrass

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