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SPECIAL SESSION: 18th I. E. Melhus Graduate Student Symposium: Molecular Basis of Plants, Pathogens, And Plant-Microbe Interactions: Today’s Students Build The Foundation for Next Level Plant Disease Resistance

Abiotic and biotic stresses universally regulate the rice transcriptome
Stephen Cohen - The Ohio State University. Jan Leach- Colorado State University

Environmental stresses, both abiotic and biotic, are large contributors to pre-harvest crop loss. With climate change increasing the incidence of abiotic stresses and the constant pressure of pests and pathogens, it is critical to world agriculture that varieties of plants broadly tolerant to stresses are developed. For this, it is necessary to develop a comprehensive understanding of how plants respond to stress. Here, we present the results of a meta-analysis of publicly available rice stress response transcriptome data. Our results confirm that rice universally down-regulates photosynthesis in response to both abiotic and biotic stress. Rice also generally up-regulates hormone-responsive genes during stress response, most notably genes in the abscisic acid, jasmonic acid and salicylic acid pathways. We identified several promoter motifs that are likely involved in stress-responsive regulatory mechanisms in rice. This study provides a list of candidate genes and pathways to study for improving rice stress tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. This study also serves as an important proof of concept that meta-analysis of diverse transcriptome data is a valid approach to develop hypotheses for how plants respond to stress.