Image_2_Photosynthetic Carbon Fixation and Sucrose Metabolism Supplemented by Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis in Response to Water Stress in Rice With Overlapping Growth Stages.jpg
Drought stress at jointing and booting phases of plant development directly affects plant growth and productivity in rice. Limited by natural factors, the jointing and booting stages in rice varieties are known to overlap in high-latitude areas that are more sensitive to water deficit. However, the regulation of photosynthetic carbon fixation and sucrose metabolism in rice leaves under different degrees of drought stress remains unclear. In this study, rice plants were subjected to three degrees of drought stress (−10, −25, −and 40 kPa) for 15 days during the jointing-booting stage, we investigated photosynthetic carbon sequestration and sucrose metabolism pathways in rice leaves and analyzed key genes and regulatory networks using transcriptome sequencing in 2016. And we investigated the effects of drought stress on the growth periods of rice with overlapping growth periods in 2016 and 2017. The results showed that short-term drought stress promoted photosynthetic carbon fixation. However, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO) activity significantly decreased, resulting in a significant decrease in photosynthetic rate. Drought stress increased the maximum activity of fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase (FBA). FBA maintains the necessary photosynthetic rate during drought stress and provides a material base after the resumption of irrigation in the form of controlling the content of its reaction product triose phosphate. Drought stress significantly affected the activities of sucrose synthase (SuSase) and sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS). Vacuoles invertase (VIN) activity increased significantly, and the more severe the drought, the higher the VIN activity. Severe drought stress at the jointing-booting stage severely restricted the growth process of rice with overlapping growth stages and significantly delayed heading and anthesis stages. Transcriptome analysis showed that the number of differentially expressed genes was highest at 6–9 days after drought stress. Two invertase and four β-amylase genes with time-specific expression were involved in sucrose-starch metabolism in rice under drought stress. Combined with weighted gene co-expression network analysis, VIN and β-amylase genes up-regulated throughout drought stress were regulated by OsbZIP04 and OsWRKY62 transcription factors under drought stress. This study showed that any water deficit at the jointing-booting stage would have a serious effect on sucrose metabolism in leaves of rice with overlapping growth stages.