Metabolic profiling analyses were performed to determine metabolite temporal dynamics associated with the induction of acquired thermotolerance in response to heat shock and acquired freezing tolerance in response to cold shock. Low-Mr polar metabolite analyses were performed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Eighty-one identified metabolites and 416 unidentified mass spectral tags, characterized by retention time indices and specific mass fragments, were monitored. Cold shock influenced metabolism far more profoundly than heat shock. The steady-state pool sizes of 143 and 311 metabolites or mass spectral tags were altered in response to heat and cold shock, respectively. Comparison of heat- and cold-shock response patterns revealed that the majority of heat-shock responses were shared with cold-shock responses, a previously unknown relationship. Coordinate increases in the pool sizes of amino acids derived from pyruvate and oxaloacetate, polyamine precursors, and compatible solutes were observed during both heat and cold shock. In addition, many of the metabolites that showed increases in response to both heat and cold shock in this study were previously unlinked with temperature stress. This investigation provides new insight into the mechanisms of plant adaptation to thermal stress at the metabolite level, reveals relationships between heat- and cold-shock responses, and highlights the roles of known signaling molecules and protectants.
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