Homoeolog-specific activation of genes for heat acclimation in the allopolyploid grass Brachypodium hybridum

Kotaro Takahagi, Komaki Inoue, Minami Shimizu, Yukiko Uehara-Yamaguchi, Yoshihiko Onda, Keiichi Mochida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Allopolyploid plants often show wider environmental tolerances than their ancestors; this is expected to be due to the merger of multiple distinct genomes with a fixed heterozygosity. The complex homoeologous gene expression could have been evolutionarily advantageous for the adaptation of allopolyploid plants. Despite multiple previous studies reporting homoeolog-specific gene expression in allopolyploid species, there are no clear examples of homoeolog-specific function in acclimation to a long-term stress condition. Results: We found that the allopolyploid grass Brachypodium hybridum and its ancestor Brachypodium stacei show long-term heat stress tolerance, unlike its other ancestor, Brachypodium distachyon. To understand the physiological traits of B. hybridum, we compared the transcriptome of the 3 Brachypodium species grown under normal and heat stress conditions. We found that the expression patterns of approximately 26% and approximately 38% of the homoeolog groups in B. hybridum changed toward nonadditive expression and nonancestral expression, respectively, under normal condition. Moreover, we found that B. distachyon showed similar expression patterns between normal and heat stress conditions, whereas B. hybridum and B. stacei significantly altered their transcriptome in response to heat after 3 days of stress exposure, and homoeologs that were inherited from B. stacei may have contributed to the transcriptional stress response to heat in B. hybridum. After 15 days of heat exposure, B. hybridum and B. stacei maintained transcriptional states similar to those under normal conditions. These results suggest that an earlier response to heat that was specific to homoeologs originating from B. stacei contributed to cellular homeostasis under long-term heat stress in B. hybridum. Conclusions: Our results provide insights into different regulatory events of the homoeo-transcriptome that are associated with stress acclimation in allopolyploid plants.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics


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