Get access

Physiological, biochemical, and genome-wide transcriptional analysis reveals that elevated CO2 mitigates the impact of combined heat wave and drought stress in Arabidopsis thaliana at multiple organizational levels

Authors

  • Gaurav Zinta,

    1. Research Group of Plant and Vegetation Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
    2. Laboratory for Molecular Plant Physiology and Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Hamada AbdElgawad,

    1. Laboratory for Molecular Plant Physiology and Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Malgorzata A. Domagalska,

    1. Laboratory for Molecular Plant Physiology and Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Lucia Vergauwen,

    1. Zebrafish Laboratory, Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
    2. Systemic Physiological and Ecotoxicological Research, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dries Knapen,

    1. Zebrafish Laboratory, Veterinary Physiology and Biochemistry, Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
    2. Systemic Physiological and Ecotoxicological Research, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ivan Nijs,

    1. Research Group of Plant and Vegetation Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ivan A. Janssens,

    1. Research Group of Plant and Vegetation Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Gerrit T.S. Beemster,

    1. Laboratory for Molecular Plant Physiology and Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Han Asard

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory for Molecular Plant Physiology and Biotechnology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Climate changes increasingly threaten plant growth and productivity. Such changes are complex and involve multiple environmental factors, including rising CO2 levels and climate extreme events. As the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying plant responses to realistic future climate extreme conditions are still poorly understood, a multiple organizational level analysis (i.e. eco-physiological, biochemical, and transcriptional) was performed, using Arabidopsis exposed to incremental heat wave and water deficit under ambient and elevated CO2. The climate extreme resulted in biomass reduction, photosynthesis inhibition, and considerable increases in stress parameters. Photosynthesis was a major target as demonstrated at the physiological and transcriptional levels. In contrast, the climate extreme treatment induced a protective effect on oxidative membrane damage, most likely as a result of strongly increased lipophilic antioxidants and membrane-protecting enzymes. Elevated CO2 significantly mitigated the negative impact of a combined heat and drought, as apparent in biomass reduction, photosynthesis inhibition, chlorophyll fluorescence decline, H2O2 production, and protein oxidation. Analysis of enzymatic and molecular antioxidants revealed that the stress-mitigating CO2 effect operates through up-regulation of antioxidant defense metabolism, as well as by reduced photorespiration resulting in lowered oxidative pressure. Therefore, exposure to future climate extreme episodes will negatively impact plant growth and production, but elevated CO2 is likely to mitigate this effect.

Ancillary