Screening the banana biodiversity for drought tolerance: can an in vitro growth model and proteomics be used as a tool to discover tolerant varieties and understand homeostasis.
There is a great need for research aimed at understanding drought tolerance, screening for drought tolerant varieties and breeding crops with an improved water use efficiency. Bananas and plantains are a major staple food and export product with a worldwide production of over 135 million tonnes per year. Water however is the most limiting abiotic factor in banana production. A screening of the Musa biodiversity has not yet been performed. We at KU Leuven host the Musa International Germplasm collection with over 1200 accessions. To screen the Musa biodiversity for drought tolerant varieties, we developed a screening test for in vitro plants. Five varieties representing different genomic constitutions in banana (AAAh, AAA, AAB, AABp, and ABB) were selected and subjected to a mild osmotic stress. The ABB variety showed the smallest stress induced growth reduction. To get an insight into the acclimation and the accomplishment of homeostasis, the leaf proteome of this variety was characterized via 2D DIGE. After extraction of the leaf proteome of six control and six stressed plants, 2600 spots could be distinguished. A PCA analysis indicates that control and stressed plants can blindly be classified based on their proteome. One hundred and twelve proteins were significantly more abundant in the stressed plants and 18 proteins were significantly more abundant in control plants (FDR α 0.05). Twenty four differential proteins could be identified. The proteome analysis clearly shows that there is a new balance in the stressed plants and that the respiration, metabolism of ROS and several dehydrogenases involved in NAD/NADH homeostasis play an important role.