|Title||Gene expression patterns of two dominant tallgrass prairie species differ in response to warming and altered precipitation|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Authors||Smith, MD, Hoffman, AM, Avolio, ML|
To better understand the mechanisms underlying plant species responses to climate change, we compared transcriptional profiles of the co-dominant C4 grasses, Andropogon gerardii Vitman and Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash, in response to increased temperatures and more variable precipitation regimes in a long-term field experiment in native tallgrass prairie. We used microarray probing of a closely related model species (Zea mays) to assess correlations in leaf temperature (Tleaf) and leaf water potential (LWP) and abundance changes of ~10,000 transcripts in leaf tissue collected from individuals of both species. A greater number of transcripts were found to significantly change in abundance levels with Tleaf and LWP in S. nutans than in A. gerardii. S. nutans also was more responsive to short-term drought recovery than A. gerardii. Water flow regulating transcripts associated with stress avoidance (e.g., aquaporins), as well as those involved in the prevention and repair of damage (e.g., antioxidant enzymes, HSPs), were uniquely more abundant in response to increasing Tleaf in S. nutans. The differential transcriptomic responses of the co-dominant C4 grasses suggest that these species may cope with and respond to temperature and water stress at the molecular level in distinct ways, with implications for tallgrass prairie ecosystem function.