Exogenous abscisic acid treatment regulates protein secretion in sorghum cell suspension cultures.

Muthego D, Moloi SJ, Brown AP, Goche T, Chivasa S, Ngara R

Published: 15 December 2023 in Plant signaling & behavior
Keywords: ABA, Sorghum, cell suspension cultures, drought stress, extracellular matrix, gene expression, iTRAQ, protein secretion, secretome, total soluble protein
Pubmed ID: 38100609
DOI: 10.1080/15592324.2023.2291618

Drought stress adversely affects plant growth, often leading to total crop failure. Upon sensing soil water deficits, plants switch on biosynthesis of abscisic acid (ABA), a stress hormone for drought adaptation. Here, we used exogenous ABA application to dark-grown sorghum cell suspension cultures as an experimental system to understand how a drought-tolerant crop responds to ABA. We evaluated intracellular and secreted proteins using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification. While the abundance of only ~ 7% (46 proteins) intracellular proteins changed in response to ABA, ~32% (82 proteins) of secreted proteins identified in this study were ABA responsive. This shows that the extracellular matrix is disproportionately targeted and suggests it plays a vital role in sorghum adaptation to drought. Extracellular proteins responsive to ABA were predominantly defense/detoxification and cell wall-modifying enzymes. We confirmed that sorghum plants exposed to drought stress activate genes encoding the same proteins identified in the in vitro cell culture system with ABA. Our results suggest that ABA activates defense and cell wall remodeling systems during stress response. This could underpin the success of sorghum adaptation to drought stress.