Circadian clocks are a great evolutionary innovation and provide competitive advantage during the day/night cycle and under changing environmental conditions. The circadian clock mediates expression of a large proportion of genes in plants, achieving a harmonious relationship between energy metabolism, photosynthesis, and biotic and abiotic stress responses. Here it is shown that multiple paralogues of clock genes are present in soybean (Glycine max) and mediate flooding and drought responses. Differential expression of many clock and SUB1 genes was found under flooding and drought conditions. Furthermore, natural variation in the amplitude and phase shifts in PRR7 and TOC1 genes was also discovered under drought and flooding conditions, respectively. PRR3 exhibited flooding- and drought-specific splicing patterns and may work in concert with PRR7 and TOC1 to achieve energy homeostasis under flooding and drought conditions. Higher expression of TOC1 also coincides with elevated levels of abscisic acid (ABA) and variation in glucose levels in the morning and afternoon, indicating that this response to abiotic stress is mediated by ABA, endogenous sugar levels, and the circadian clock to fine-tune photosynthesis and energy utilization under stress conditions. It is proposed that the presence of multiple clock gene paralogues with variation in DNA sequence, phase, and period could be used to screen exotic germplasm to find sources for drought and flooding tolerance. Furthermore, fine tuning of multiple clock gene paralogues (via a genetic engineering approach) should also facilitate the development of flooding- and drought-tolerant soybean varieties.
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© 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved.
- alternative splicing
- circadian clock
- jasmonic acid