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Influence of short-term drought conditions and subsequent re-watering on the physiology and proteome of Lolium multiflorum/Festuca arundinacea introgression forms, with contrasting levels of tolerance to long-term drought



Festuca arundinacea is a drought tolerant species. Lolium multiflorum has better forage quality but lower tolerance to abiotic stresses. Their hybrids offer an opportunity to perform research on the molecular basis of tolerance to drought. The aim of this work was to recognise the mechanisms of response to short-term drought (11 days) in a glasshouse in two L. multiflorum/F. arundinacea introgression forms with distinct levels of tolerance to long-term drought (14 weeks) in the field. Measurements of physiological parameters, analyses of protein accumulation profiles using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, and mass spectrometry identification of proteins, which were accumulated differentially between the selected genotypes during short-term drought, were performed. Genotype 7/6, with lower yield potential during 14 weeks of drought, and lower ability to re-grow after watering, had a higher capacity for photosynthesis during 11 days of drought. Genotype 4/10, more tolerant to long-term drought, was able to repair damaged cell membranes after watering and was also characterised by lower transpiration during short-term drought. A total of 455 proteins were analysed, and the 17 that were differentially accumulated between the two genotypes were identified. The results of physiological and proteomic research led to a hypothesis that the higher photosynthetic capacity of genotype 7/6 could be due to a more efficient Calvin cycle, supported by higher accumulation of crucial proteins involving chloroplast aldolase.