Water Stress in Beta vulgaris: Osmotic Adjustment Response and Gene Expression Analysis in ssp. vulgaris and maritima


Beta vulgaris genus comprises wild and cultivated subspecies. The “maritima” subspecies is formed by wild or weedy accessions, well adapted to low-water potential environments; it was previously shown that B. vulgaris ssp. maritima has mechanisms of osmotic adjustment more effective than the cultivated B. vulgaris ssp. vulgaris. The response to a progressive lowering of soil potential was compared in two Beta accessions, a cultivated and a wild one. Throughout the 4-months experiment under rain shelters, osmotic potential and relative water content were measured and total RNA was extracted to test the expression of six target genes known in sugar beet or in other plants to be modulated by water shortage. The mild occurrence of drought was paralleled by slow increase in transcription for sucrose synthase 1 and choline monoxygenase, in a way that was in some cases accession-dependent, e.g. the gene for choline monoxygenase was found to be up-regulated at the later stages of growth in stressed plants compared to control ones, and showed a higher constitutive transcription in sea beet compared to sugar beet. Transcription factor DREB2Aalso was slowly induced during the growth season and upon onset of water shortage, and this induction was stronger in sea beet than in sugar beet. In control plants, the transcription of all genes tested except DREB2Awere significantly higher in maritima accession compared to vulgaris one.

Share and Cite:

P. Vastarelli, A. Moschella, D. Pacifico and G. Mandolino, "Water Stress in Beta vulgaris: Osmotic Adjustment Response and Gene Expression Analysis in ssp. vulgaris and maritima," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2013, pp. 11-16. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.41003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] M. J. C. Asher and S. A. Francis, “Exploiting Disease Resistance in Beta Germplasm,” Report of the Second Joint Meeting of the Working Group on Beta and World Beta Network, Bologna, 23-26 October 2002, p. 111.
[2] J. S. Boyer, “Plant Productivity and Environment,” Science, Vol. 218, No. 4571, 1982, pp. 443-448. doi:10.1126/science.218.4571.443
[3] E. S. Ober, C. J. A. Clark, M. Le Bloa, A. Royal, K. W. Jaggard and J. D. Pidgeon, “Assessing the Genetic Resources to Improve Drought Tolerance in Sugar Beet: Agronomic Traits of Diverse Genotypes under Droughted and Irrigated Conditions,” Field Crops Research, Vol. 90, No. 2-3, 2004, pp. 213-234. doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2004.03.004
[4] E. S. Ober, M. Le Bloa, C. J. A.Clark, A. Royal, K. W. Jaggard and J. D. Pidgeon, “Evaluation of Physiological Traits as Indirect Selection Criteria for Drought Tolerance in Sugarbeet,” Field Crops Research, Vol. 91, No. 2-3, 2005, pp. 231-249. doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2004.07.012
[5] E. Biancardi, G. Mandolino and W. Boschetti, “A Study of the Sugar Beet Root System by Endoscopic Techniques,” Proceedings of the 29th General Meeting of American Society of Sugar Beet Technologists, Phoenix, 2-5 March 1997, pp. 73-81.
[6] P. V. Biscoe, “The Diffusion Resistance and Water Status of Leaves of Beta vulgaris,” Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 23, No. 4, 1972, pp. 930-940. doi:10.1093/jxb/23.4.930
[7] K. J. McCrea and S. G. Richardson, “Stomatal Closure vs. Osmotic Adjustment: A Comparison of Stress Responses,” Crop Science, Vol. 27, No. 3, 1987, pp. 539-543.
[8] E. Biancardi, L. W. Panella and R. T. Llewellen, “Beta maritima. The Origin of Beets,” Springer, Berlin, 2012. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-0842-0
[9] C. M. Hoffmann, “Sucrose Accumulation in Sugar Beet under Drought Stress,” Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, Vol. 196, No. 4, 2010, pp. 243-252.
[10] M. Bagatta, D. Pacifico and G. Mandolino, “Evaluation of the Osmotic Adjustment Response within the Genus beta,” Journal of Sugar Beet Research, Vol. 45, No. 3-4, 2008, pp. 119-133. doi:10.5274/jsbr.45.3.119
[11] D. Pacifico, C. Onofri and G. Mandolino, “Cold-Modulated Expression of Genes Encoding for Key Enzymes of the Sugar Metabolism in Spring and Autumn cvs. of Beta vulgaris L.,” Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2011, pp. 268-271. doi:10.1017/S1479262111000438
[12] K. J. Livak and T. D. Schmittgen, “Analysis of Relative Gene Expression Data Using Real Time Quantitative PCR and the 2–ΔΔCt Method,” Methods, Vol. 25, No. 4, 2001, pp. 402-408. doi:10.1006/meth.2001.1262
[13] N. Katerij, J. W. van Hoorn, A. Hamdy, M. Mastrorilli and E. Mou Karzel, “Osmotic Adjustment of Sugar Beets in Response to Salinity and Its Influence on Stomatal Conductance, Growth and Yield,” Agricultural Water Management, Vol. 34, No. 1, 1997, pp. 57-69. doi:10.1016/S0378-3774(96)01294-2
[14] D. C. Dreesmann, C. Harn and J. Daie, “Expression of Genes Encoding Rubisco in Sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L) Plants Subjected to Gradual Desiccation,” Plant and Cell Physiology, Vol. 35, No. 4, 1994, pp. 645-653.
[15] N. Sade, A. Gebremedhin and M. Moshelion, “Risk-Taking Plants. Anisohydric Behaviour as a Stress-Resistance Trait,” Plant Signaling and Behavior, Vol. 7, No. 7, 2012, pp. 767-770. doi:10.4161/psb.20505
[16] A. Pou, H. Medrano, J. Flexas and S. D. Tyerman, “A Putative Role for TIP and PIP Acquaporins in Dynamics of Leaf Hydraulic and Stomatal Conductances in Grapevine under Water Stress and ReWatering,” Plant, Cell & Environment, 2012, in Press. doi:10.1111/pce.12019
[17] B. L. Russell, B. Rathinasabapathi and A. D. Hanson, “Osmotic Stress Induces Expression of Choline Monooxygenase in Sugar Beet and Amaranth,” Plant Physiology, Vol. 116, No. 2, 1998, pp. 859-865. doi:10.1104/pp.116.2.859

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.