Phosphoproteomic analysis of the response of maize leaves to drought, heat and their combination stress

  • Hu X
  • Wu L
  • Zhao F
  • et al.
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© 2015 Hu, Wu, Zhao, Zhang, Li, Zhu, Li and Wang. Drought and heat stress, especially their combination, greatly affect crop production. Many studies have described transcriptome, proteome and phosphoproteome changes in response of plants to drought or heat stress. However, the study about the phosphoproteomic changes in response of crops to the combination stress is scare. To understand the mechanism of maize responses to the drought and heat combination stress, phosphoproteomic analysis was performed on maize leaves by using multiplex iTRAQ-based quantitative proteomic and LC-MS/MS methods. Five-leaf-stage maize was subjected to drought, heat or their combination, and the leaves were collected. Globally, heat, drought and the combined stress significantly changed the phosphorylation levels of 172, 149, and 144 phosphopeptides, respectively. These phosphopeptides corresponded to 282 proteins. Among them, 23 only responded to the combined stress and could not be predicted from their responses to single stressors; 30 and 75 only responded to drought and heat, respectively. Notably, 19 proteins were phosphorylated on different sites in response to the single and combination stresses. Of the seven significantly enriched phosphorylation motifs identified, two were common for all stresses, two were common for heat and the combined stress, and one was specific to the combined stress. The signaling pathways in which the phosphoproteins were involved clearly differed among the three stresses. Functional characterization of the phosphoproteins and the pathways identified here could lead to new targets for the enhancement of crop stress tolerance, which will be particularly important in the face of climate change and the increasing prevalence of abiotic stressors.




Hu, X., Wu, L., Zhao, F., Zhang, D., Li, N., Zhu, G., … Wang, W. (2015). Phosphoproteomic analysis of the response of maize leaves to drought, heat and their combination stress. Frontiers in Plant Science, 6.

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