Image_1_Physiological and Transcriptome Analyses Reveal Short-Term Responses and Formation of Memory Under Drought Stress in Rice.TIF

In some plants, exposure to stress can induce a memory response, which appears to play an important role in adaptation to recurrent stress environments. However, whether rice exhibits drought stress memory and the molecular mechanisms that might underlie this process have remained unclear. Here, we ensured that rice drought memory was established after cycles of mild drought and re-watering treatment, and studied gene expression by whole-transcriptome strand-specific RNA sequencing (ssRNA-seq). We detected 6,885 transcripts and 238 lncRNAs involved in the drought memory response, grouped into 16 distinct patterns. Notably, the identified genes of dosage memory generally did not respond to the initial drought treatment. Our results demonstrate that stress memory can be developed in rice under appropriate water deficient stress, and lncRNA, DNA methylation and endogenous phytohormones (especially abscisic acid) participate in rice short-term drought memory, possibly acting as memory factors to activate drought-related memory transcripts in pathways such as photosynthesis and proline biosynthesis, to respond to the subsequent stresses.