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Title: Rice response to simultaneous biotic and abiotic stresses
Author: Jain, Ritu Shree
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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With the predicted climate change and an ever-growing population there is increasing pressure to develop crop plants with improved stress responses, increased yield and high nutritive value. We have explored transcriptomic changes in the leaves and roots of rice plants (Oryza sativa japonica cv Nipponbare) in response to drought and the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne graminicola. A glasshouse model was developed to mimic conditions experienced by rice plants in the field. The plant responses under simultaneous biotic and abiotic stress were dominated by the drought element accompanied by a unique set of genes that were only responsive to the simultaneous stress. Highlighted within this group were novel members of stress-responsive gene families for example cytochrome P450, wall-associated kinases, lipid transfer proteinlike proteins and new candidate genes that may play important roles in the response of rice to multiple stresses. The genes that were differentially regulated between the multiple and the drought stress treatment were explored using loss-of-function mutants. The loss-of-function mutant for peroxidase precursor gene (per) showed improved growth and yield compared to the wildtype Nipponbare plants. The experiments conducted in growth rooms were validated in a field study. Both Nipponbare rice plants, and the popular lowland indica rice cv IR64 were grown under prolonged vegetative drought stress accompanied by cyst nematode or root-knot nematode infection. Reduction of phytate, an anti-nutrient, has been adopted as a major strategy to improve the nutritional value of crop plants. Nematode susceptibility of low phytate Arabidopsis plants was studied to determine the effect of reduced phytate content on the plant’s defence response. The study has provided insight into the genome-wide transcriptional changes in rice under a combined biotic and abiotic stress. It has led to better understanding of the stress responses in plants that will be advantageous in developing crop varieties with improved yield and nutritive value.
Supervisor: Urwin, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available