A comparative analysis of transcriptomic, biochemical, and physiological responses to elevated ozone identifies species-specific mechanisms of resilience in legume crops

J Exp Bot. 2015 Dec;66(22):7101-12. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erv404. Epub 2015 Aug 31.


Current concentrations of tropospheric ozone ([O3]) pollution negatively impact plant metabolism, which can result in decreased crop yields. Interspecific variation in the physiological response of plants to elevated [O3] exists; however, the underlying cellular responses explaining species-specific differences are largely unknown. Here, a physiological screen has been performed on multiple varieties of legume species. Three varieties of garden pea (Pisum sativum L.) were resilient to elevated [O3]. Garden pea showed no change in photosynthetic capacity or leaf longevity when exposed to elevated [O3], in contrast to varieties of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Global transcriptomic and targeted biochemical analyses were then done to examine the mechanistic differences in legume responses to elevated [O3]. In all three species, there was an O3-mediated reduction in specific leaf weight and total non-structural carbohydrate content, as well as increased abundance of respiration-related transcripts. Differences specific to garden pea included a pronounced increase in the abundance of GLUTATHIONE REDUCTASE transcript, as well as greater contents of foliar glutathione, apoplastic ascorbate, and sucrose in elevated [O3]. These results suggest that garden pea may have had greater capacity for detoxification, which prevented net losses in CO2 fixation in an elevated [O3] environment.

Keywords: Ascorbate–glutathione cycle; Glycine max; Phaseolus vulgaris; Pisum sativum; RNA-Seq.; air pollution; photosynthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / metabolism
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Fabaceae / enzymology
  • Fabaceae / genetics
  • Fabaceae / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Ozone / metabolism
  • Ozone / toxicity*
  • Peas / metabolism
  • Phaseolus / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Soybeans / metabolism
  • Species Specificity


  • Air Pollutants
  • Antioxidants
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Ozone