How Styrax Seedlings React to Sudden Floods and Droughts

Jenn Hoskins
18th May, 2024

How Styrax Seedlings React to Sudden Floods and Droughts

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study, conducted in the Yangtze River region, found that FDAA conditions significantly hinder the growth of S. tonkinensis seedlings
  • FDAA stress leads to increased oxidative stress in S. tonkinensis, indicated by higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the leaves
  • S. tonkinensis activates its antioxidant defense mechanisms under FDAA stress, with increased activity of enzymes like superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT)
Climate extremes such as flood-drought abrupt alternation (FDAA) present significant challenges to the growth and expansion of Styrax tonkinensis (Pierre) Craib ex Hartwich in the southern provinces of the Yangtze River region. This phenomenon, exacerbated by global warming, results in alternating periods of waterlogging and drought, conditions to which S. tonkinensis has a low tolerance. Researchers at Nanjing Forestry University have conducted a study to understand how this species responds at the molecular level to FDAA stress, focusing on its antioxidant system and the peroxisome pathway[1]. The study involved two-year-old seedlings of S. tonkinensis, which were subjected to both FDAA and drought (DT) conditions. Researchers measured various growth indexes, reactive oxygen species (ROS) content, and antioxidant enzyme activity. Additionally, they performed transcriptome analysis to observe changes at the gene expression level. FDAA refers to the rapid transition between drought and flood conditions, posing severe threats to ecological security, food production, and human safety[2]. In Southern China, such abrupt alternations are frequent during summer, severely impacting agricultural productivity[3]. Previous studies have shown that the physiological and biochemical responses of plants to these stressors can be complex. For instance, rice yield recovery after FDAA stress involves intricate transcriptional and translational mechanisms influenced by nitrogen application[3]. This highlights the importance of understanding plant responses at both molecular and physiological levels to mitigate the adverse effects of climate extremes. The Nanjing Forestry University study builds on this understanding by focusing on S. tonkinensis, a species with potential economic and ecological value. The researchers found that FDAA conditions significantly impacted the growth of S. tonkinensis seedlings. There was an increase in ROS content, indicating oxidative stress, which can damage cellular structures and impede plant growth. To counteract this, plants activate their antioxidant systems, which include enzymes like superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and peroxidase (POD). These enzymes help neutralize ROS, protecting the plant cells from oxidative damage. The transcriptome analysis revealed changes in gene expression related to the peroxisome pathway, a crucial cellular process involved in ROS detoxification and metabolism. Under FDAA conditions, the expression of genes encoding antioxidant enzymes was upregulated, suggesting that S. tonkinensis activates its antioxidant defense mechanisms in response to oxidative stress. This aligns with findings from other studies that have shown how plants modulate their antioxidant systems under stress conditions[4]. Moreover, the study identified specific genes that were differentially expressed under FDAA and DT conditions. These genes are likely involved in the plant's response to waterlogging and drought stress, providing insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying S. tonkinensis's stress tolerance. Understanding these mechanisms is crucial for developing strategies to enhance the resilience of this species to climate extremes. The findings of this study have several implications. Firstly, they contribute to the broader understanding of how climate extremes impact plant growth and survival. By elucidating the molecular responses of S. tonkinensis to FDAA, the study provides a foundation for future research aimed at improving the stress tolerance of this species. Secondly, the results can inform conservation and reforestation efforts in regions affected by climate extremes. By selecting or genetically engineering plants with enhanced antioxidant systems, it may be possible to establish more resilient populations of S. tonkinensis in the Yangtze River region and beyond. In conclusion, the research conducted by Nanjing Forestry University highlights the complex interplay between environmental stressors and plant physiological and molecular responses. By focusing on the antioxidant system and peroxisome pathway, the study provides valuable insights into how S. tonkinensis copes with FDAA stress. These findings have the potential to inform future efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate extremes on plant species and ecosystems.

EnvironmentBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Transcriptome analysis of antioxidant system response in Styrax tonkinensis seedlings under flood-drought abrupt alternation

Published 17th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Substantial increase in abrupt shifts between drought and flood events in China based on observations and model simulations.

3) Ribosome profiling reveals the effects of nitrogen application translational regulation of yield recovery after abrupt drought-flood alternation in rice.

4) Modeling, challenges, and strategies for understanding impacts of climate extremes (droughts and floods) on water quality in Asia: A review.

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙