Abstract Detail


QUAN, JIAXIN [1], Munzbergova, Zuzana [2], Latzel, Vit [3].

Drought stress: How long can plants remember?

Recent studies have demonstrated that environmental stress can be remembered by plants in a form of ‘stress memory’. It is expected that DNA epigenetic variation is among the prominent mechanisms mediating the memory. Such a memory can alter phenotypes of plants that previously experienced the stress and, in some cases, it can even alter phenotypes of their descendants. Although we already know that stress can trigger transgenerational memory (or effects) we have virtually no knowledge on how long the memory that triggers transgenerational effects can last in parental plants. 
We therefore investigated for how long can a clonal plant “remember” that it experienced a stress and pass the memory to its clonal offspring. We grew parental plants of three genotypes of Trifolium repensfor five months either in control conditions or in control conditions that were interrupted with drought stress that lasted for two months (plants watered only when leaves were wilting). The drought-stressed plants were divided in four groups and each group experienced the drought period in different time (14 days difference among the groups). Then we created one cutting (parental ramet) from each parental plant. These ramets were transplanted individually to control environment and allowed to produce offspring ramets for two months. Such an approach resulted in a situation that the offspring ramets were produced by parental ramets originated from plants that experienced no stress (controls) or experienced drought 14 days, 28 days, 42 days or 56 days prior their transplantation to the control environment. We also treated half of the parental plants with demethylation agent (5-azacytidine) during five months growth (prior transplantation of parental ramets) to test for the potential role of DNA methylation on the stress memory.
We found that the drought stress triggers transgenerational memory in T. repensthat can be observable on phenotypes of offspring ramets. Such a memory resulted in enhanced biomass of offspring ramets produced by parental ramets that experienced drought stress maximally 42 days before their transplantation to control environment. We did not find any transgenerational memory in offspring of parents that experienced drought stress 56 days before their transplantation. 5-azacytidine reduced the rate of transgenerational memory.We conclude that the drought stress can trigger transgenerational memory in T. repensthat is very likely mediated by DNA methylation. Most importantly, the memory can last for about 40 days before it is erased.

1 - The Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Botany, Population Ecology, Zamek 1, Pruhonice, CZ-252 43, Czech Republic
2 - Institute Of Botany, Pruhonice, 252 43, Czech Republic
3 - Institute Of Botany Of The Czech Academy Of Sciences, Population Ecology, Zamek 1, Pruhonice, CZ-252 43 , Czech Republic

Transgenerational memory
DNA methylation
Memory time
Clonal plant.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Ecology Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Time: 5:00 PM Time and date to be determined
Number: PEC006
Abstract ID:362
Candidate for Awards:None

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