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Adaptive responses of amino acid metabolism to the combination of desiccation and low nitrogen availability in Sporobolus stapfianus

  • Abou Yobi
  • Albert Batushansky
  • Melvin J. Oliver
  • Ruthie AngeloviciEmail author
Original Article


Main conclusion

Depending on nitrogen availability, S. stapfianus uses different amino acid metabolism strategies to cope with desiccation stress. The different metabolic strategies support essential processes for the desiccation tolerance phenotype.

To provide a comprehensive assessment of the role played by amino acids in the adaptation of Sporobolus stapfianus to a combination of desiccation and nitrogen limitation, we used an absolute quantification of free and protein-bound amino acids (FAAs and PBAAs) as well as their gamma-glutamyl (gg-AA) derivatives in four different tissues grown under high- and low-nitrogen regimes. We demonstrate that although specific FAAs and gg-AAs increased in desiccating immature leaves under both nitrogen regimes, the absolute change in the total amount of either is small or negligible, negating their proposed role in nitrogen storage. FAAs and PBAAs decrease in underground tissues during desiccation, when nitrogen is abundant. In contrast, PBAAs are drastically reduced from the mature leaves, when nitrogen is limiting. Nevertheless, the substantial reduction in PBAA and FAA fractions in both treatments is not manifested in the immature leaves, which strongly suggests that these amino acids are further metabolized to fuel central metabolism or other metabolic adjustments that are essential for the acquisition of desiccation tolerance (DT).


Abiotic stress Amino acids Desiccation tolerance Resurrection plants Sporobolus stapfianus 



(Total) free amino acids


(Total) protein-bound amino acids


(Total) gamma-glutamyl amino acids


Desiccation sensitive


Desiccation tolerance



The authors wish to acknowledge Melody Kroll for editing assistance and James Elder for technical help with tissue collection.


This study was funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) 1355406 (EPSCoR; The Missouri Transect, Climate, Plants, and Community) to RA and NSF IOS-1444448 to MJO (Robert Sharp PI) and Agricultural Research Services (ARS) Project 5070-21000-038-00D for MJO. Mention of trademark or proprietary product does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products that may be suitable.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

425_2019_3105_MOESM1_ESM.docx (104 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 103 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Biological Sciences, Interdisciplinary Plant Group, Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences CenterUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Plant Genetic Research UnitUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Aging and Metabolism ProgramOklahoma Medical Research FoundationOklahoma CityUSA

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