Physiological, biochemical and molecular responses in four Prunus rootstocks submitted to drought stress

Autores: Jiménez, S.; Dridi, J.; Gutiérrez, D.; Moret, D.; Irigoyen Iparrea, Juan José; Moreno, M. A.; Gogorcena, Y.
Título de la revista: TREE PHYSIOLOGY
ISSN: 1758-4469
Volumen: 33
Número: 10
Páginas: 1061 - 1075
Fecha de publicación: 2013
An understanding of the mechanisms that determine plant response to reduced water availability is essential to improve water-use efficiency (WUE) of stone fruit crops. The physiological, biochemical and molecular drought responses of four Prunus rootstocks (GF 677, Cadaman, ROOTPAC 20 and ROOTPAC(®) R) budded with 'Catherina' peach cultivar were studied. Trees were grown in 15-l containers and subjected to a progressive water stress for 26 days, monitoring soil moisture content by time domain reflectometry. Photosynthetic and gas exchange parameters were determined. Root and leaf soluble sugars and proline content were also measured. At the end of the experiment, stressed plants showed lower net photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate, and higher intrinsic leaf WUE (AN/gs). Soluble sugars and proline concentration changes were observed, in both root and leaf tissues, especially in an advanced state of stress. The accumulation of proline in roots and leaves with drought stress was related to the decrease in osmotic potential and increase in WUE, whereas the accumulation of sorbitol in leaves, raffinose in roots and proline in both tissues was related only to the increase in the WUE. Owing to the putative role of raffinose and proline as antioxidants and their low concentration, they could be ameliorating deleterious effects of drought-induced oxidative stress by protecting membranes and enzymes rather than acting as active osmolytes. Higher expression of P5SC gene in roots was also consistent with proline accumulation in the tolerant genotype GF 677. These results indicate that accumulation of sorbitol, raffinose and proline in different tissues and/or the increase in P5SC expression could be used as markers of drought tolerance in peach cultivars grafted on Prunus rootstocks