Individual Leaf Area of Early Flowering Arabidopsis Genotypes Is More Affected by Drought than Late Flowering Ones: A Multi-Scale Analysis in 35 Genetically Modified Lines


Plants acclimate to drought optimizing the trade-off between biomass production and water loss while ensuring their survival and reproduction. Plants also modify their growth or phenology as complementary strategies in response to stress. Despite evidence of an interaction between flowering time and plant growth response to environmental stresses, this interaction in response to drought is under debate. To contribute to the analysis of this interaction, leaf growth of 35 genetically modified lines of Arabidopsis thaliana and their common wild-type, Col-0 was analyzed by a quantitative multi-scale phenotyping approach from cellular to whole plant scale both in well-watered and soil moderate water deficit conditions. These genotypes were selected for the various physiological functions potentially altered by their genetic modification and that could interact with plant growth and/or their drought responses. In all genotypes, leaf expansion decreased in response to drought both at the whole rosette and the individual leaf levels. Additionally, epidermal cell area and/or epidermal cell number decreased in response to the drought treatment. In contrast, the number of rosette leaves was reduced in only half of the genotypes and leaf growth duration was only modified in 4 of them. Despite long photoperiod conditions, the duration of the vegetative phase, i.e. the time elapsed between germination and flowering stage, varied from 12 to 27 days among genotypes under well watered conditions. Our analyses revealed that the differences of flowering time observed in well-watered condition impacted the leaf area response to drought. Early-flowering genotypes slightly decreased their final leaf number, but strongly reduced their individual leaf area compared with the late-flowering ones. This result underlines the difficulty to analyze plant response to environmental stresses when genotypes with different flowering dates are compared.

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Massonnet, C. , Dauzat, M. , Bédiée, A. , Vile, D. and Granier, C. (2015) Individual Leaf Area of Early Flowering Arabidopsis Genotypes Is More Affected by Drought than Late Flowering Ones: A Multi-Scale Analysis in 35 Genetically Modified Lines. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 955-971. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.67102.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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