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Involvement of nitro-oxidative metabolism, abscisic acid and aquaporins in short-term responses and recovery to drought in the epiphytic bromeliad Acanthostachys strobilacea (Schult. & Schult.f.) Klotzsch

Grant number: 18/13529-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2018
Effective date (End): December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Catarina Carvalho Nievola
Grantee:Victória de Carvalho
Home Institution: Instituto de Botânica. Secretaria do Meio Ambiente (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/50341-0 - Challenges for biodiversity conservation facing climate changes, pollution, land use and occupation (PDIP), AP.PDIP


Climate change may intensify the frequency and severity of drought cycles (i.e. consecutive periods of low and high availability of water), which may affect the metabolism of epiphytic bromeliads, important components of the native flora. The study on the metabolic responses of these plants to water deficit can promote a better understanding of how they will adapt to future climatic conditions. The epiphytic bromeliad Acanthostachys strobilacea, native to the Atlantic Forest, resists to long periods of water shortage and has a high capacity for drought recovery (restoration of leaf water content when irrigated post-drought), being appropriate for this type of study. Defence mechanisms are induced under short-term (hours) exposure to drought and may include Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), reactive nitrogen species as nitric oxide (NO) and abscisic acid (ABA). Among the mechanisms potentially activated by these signalling molecules is the regulation of cellular permeability via aquaporins (water channel proteins, AQPs). The first hypothesis we intend to validate is that young plants of A. strobilacea accumulate ROS, NO and ABA under short-term exposure to drought (72 hours), which would be tied to the regulation of mechanisms such as the gene expression of AQPs. Recovery after a non-lethal drought episode may make a plant more adapted to subsequent droughts through memory mechanisms, which could be relevant in the epiphytic environment because it is exposed to frequent moisture variations. Thus, the second hypothesis we intend to evaluate is that A. strobilacea presents memory mechanisms that would involve the modulation of the signalling molecules mentioned above and mechanisms such as the expression of AQPs in response to repeated drought cycles. The study on the involvement of nitro-oxidative metabolism (relative to reactive species), ABA and the expression of AQPs in the response to drought of epiphytes is unprecedented, whose results may contribute to the knowledge of biochemical and molecular signalling and adaptation to water deficit in these plants. (AU)