Title：Transcriptomic Analysis Revealed the Common and Divergent Responses of Maize Seedling Leaves to Cold and Heat Stresses
Authors: Li YS, Wang XR, Li Y, Zhang YJ, Gou ZW, Qi XS*, Zhang JL*(张金林)
Impact factor: IF2019=3.75
Abstract: Temperature stresses (TS), including cold and heat stress, adversely affect the growth, development, and yield of maize (Zea mays L.). To clarify the molecular mechanisms of the tolerance of maize seedling leaves to TS, we applied transcriptomic sequencing of an inbred maize line, B73, with seedlings exposed to various temperature conditions, including normal temperature (NT, 25 °C), cold (4, 10, and 16 °C), and heat (37, 42, and 48 °C) stresses. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were detected in different comparison between the NT sample and each temperature-stressed sample, with 5358, 5485, 5312, 1095, 2006, and 4760 DEGs responding to TS of 4, 10, 16, 37, 42, and 48 °C, respectively. For cold and heat stresses, 189 DEGs enriched in the hydrogen peroxidase metabolic process, cellular modified amino acid metabolic process, and sulfur compound metabolic process were common. The DEGs encoding calcium signaling and reactive oxygen species scavenging enzymes demonstrated similar expression characterizations, whereas the DEGs encoding transcription factors, such as ERF, ARF, and HSF, hormone signaling, and heat shock proteins, displayed divergent expression models, implying both common and divergent responses to cold and heat stresses in maize seedling leaves. Co-expression network analysis showed that functional DEGs associated with the core regulators in response to cold and heat stresses were significantly correlated with TS, indicating their vital roles in cold and heat adaptation, respectively. Our investigation focused on the response to gradient TS, and the results presented a relatively comprehensive category of genes involved in differential TS responses. These will contribute a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of maize seedling leaf responses to TS and provide valuable genetic resources for breeding TS tolerant varieties of maize.