Cross-stress memory in rice

In this nice collaboration with the laboratory of Eugenia Jacira Bolacel Braga from the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil, we contributed to investigate as to whether the pre-exposure of plants to a potentially stressful condition can stimulate tolerance to subsequent stresses, a phenomenon associated with memory in plants. Interestingly, the stimuli to produce a memory or priming effect do not need to be identical. When the stimuli have different natures, a cross-tolerance phenomenon can take place. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the pre-exposure of rice plants to a saline stimulus at the vegetative stage has the potential to mitigate the effects of a drought event during grain-filling. By evaluating the transcriptional and physiological (e.g. hormones, gas exchange, growth parameters) responses, this study seek to identify likely long-term memory mechanisms. The results demonstrated that primed plants challenged by water stress during the grain-filling stage showed less electrolyte leakage, less damage to the photosynthetic apparatus and increased root growth. From these obtained results, we were able to concluded that priming with salt in the vegetative stage can mitigates the effects of drought during the reproductive stage at the transcriptional, physiological and hormonal levels.


Original Paper:

Rossatto, T., Souza, G.M., do Amaral, M.N., Auler, P.A., Pérez-Alonso, M.-M., Pollmann, S., Braga, E.J.B. 2023. Cross-stress memory: Salt priming at vegetative growth stages improves tolerance to drought stress during grain-filling in rice plants. Environmental and Experimental Botany 206, 105187. DOI: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2022.105187