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A comparison of heat-stress transcriptome changes between wild-type Arabidopsis pollen and a heat-sensitive mutant harboring a knockout of cyclic nucleotide-gated cation channel 16 (cngc16)
AuthorIshka, Maryam R.
Tillett, Richard L.
Schlauch, Karen A.
Harper, Jeffrey F.
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In flowering plants, the male gametophyte (pollen) is one of the most vulnerable cells to temperature stress. In Arabidopsis thaliana, a pollen-specific Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated cation Channel 16 (cngc16), is required for plant reproduction under temperature-stress conditions. Plants harboring a cncg16 knockout are nearly sterile under conditions of hot days and cold nights. To understand the underlying cause, RNA-Seq was used to compare the pollen transcriptomes of wild type (WT) and cngc16 under normal and heat stress (HS) conditions. Results: Here we show that a heat-stress response (HSR) in WT pollen resulted in 2102 statistically significant transcriptome changes (= 2-fold changes with adjusted p-value = 0.01), representing approximately 15% of 14,226 quantified transcripts. Of these changes, 89 corresponded to transcription factors, with 27 showing a preferential expression in pollen over seedling tissues. In contrast to WT, cngc16 pollen showed 1.9-fold more HS-dependent changes (3936 total, with 2776 differences between WT and cngc16). In a quantitative direct comparison between WT and cngc16 transcriptomes, the number of statistically significant differences increased from 21 pre-existing differences under normal conditions to 192 differences under HS. Of the 20 HS-dependent changes in WT that were most different in cngc16, half corresponded to genes encoding proteins predicted to impact cell wall features or membrane dynamics. Conclusions: Results here define an extensive HS-dependent reprogramming of approximately 15% of the WT pollen transcriptome, and identify at least 27 transcription factor changes that could provide unique contributions to a pollen HSR. The number of statistically significant transcriptome differences between WT and cngc16 increased by more than 9-fold under HS, with most of the largest magnitude changes having the potential to specifically impact cell walls or membrane dynamics, and thereby potentiate cngc16 pollen to be hypersensitive to HS. However, HS-hypersensitivity could also be caused by the extensive number of differences throughout the transcriptome having a cumulative effect on multiple cellular pathways required for tip growth and fertilization. Regardless, results here support a model in which a functional HS-dependent reprogramming of the pollen transcriptome requires a specific calcium-permeable Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated cation Channel, CNGC16.
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