Young Tomato Plants Respond Differently under Single or Combined Mild Nitrogen and Water Deficit: An Insight into Morphophysiological Responses and Primary Metabolism

Joana Machado, Marta W. Vasconcelos, Cristiano Soares, Fernanda Fidalgo, Ep Heuvelink, Susana M.P. Carvalho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study aimed to understand the morphophysiological responses and primary metabolism of tomato seedlings subjected to mild levels of nitrogen and/or water deficit (50% N and/or 50% W). After 16 days of exposure, plants grown under the combined deficit showed similar behavior to the one found upon exposure to single N deficit. Both N deficit treatments resulted in a significantly lower dry weight, leaf area, chlorophyll content, and N accumulation but in a higher N use efficiency when compared to control (CTR) plants. Moreover, concerning plant metabolism, at the shoot level, these two treatments also responded in a similar way, inducing higher C/N ratio, nitrate reductase (NR) and glutamine synthetase (GS) activity, expression of RuBisCO encoding genes as well as a downregulation of GS2.1 and GS2.2 transcripts. Interestingly, plant metabolic responses at the root level did not follow the same pattern, with plants under combined deficit behaving similarly to W deficit plants, resulting in enhanced nitrate and proline concentrations, NR activity, and an upregulation of GS1 and NR genes than in CTR plants. Overall, our data suggest that the N remobilization and osmoregulation strategies play a relevant role in plant acclimation to these abiotic stresses and highlight the complexity of plant responses under a combined N+W deficit.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1181
Number of pages21
JournalPlants
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • combined abiotic stresses
  • gene expression
  • N-metabolism
  • osmoregulation
  • Solanum lycopersicum

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