Effect of heat and drought on phenotypic plasticity and physiology of leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana

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Dhakal, Sabitri
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Biological Sciences
Plants undergo morphological and physiological acclimation when exposed to heat or drought. I exposed wild type Arabidopsis thaliana and mutants with open or less dense leaf venation to heat and drought and assessed subsequent changes to vein pattern. To also assess the correlation between the vein pattern and photosynthetic gas exchange, I conducted carbon isotope analysis on leaf tissue. Exposure of wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana to heat or drought resulted in a significantly increased vein density together with an increased number of vein meetings and areoles. Exposure of mutants to stress revealed that genes like FKD1 and UNH1 are involved in enabling leaf phenotypic plasticity. 13C/12C isotopic analysis suggested that, whereas wild type is capable of increasing its photosynthetic capacity under drought, the open vein pattern of the fkd1 mutant does not allow proper hydration of leaf resulting in reduced stomatal conductance.
abiotic stresses , Arabidopsis thaliana , drought tolerance , heat tolerance , leaf phenotypic plasticity , leaf vein pattern