Molecular and physiological responses during thermal acclimation of leaf photosynthesis and respiration in rice

Plant Cell Environ. 2020 Mar;43(3):594-610. doi: 10.1111/pce.13706. Epub 2020 Jan 10.


To further our understanding of how sustained changes in temperature affect the carbon economy of rice (Oryza sativa), hydroponically grown plants of the IR64 cultivar were developed at 30°C/25°C (day/night) before being shifted to 25/20°C or 40/35°C. Leaf messenger RNA and protein abundance, sugar and starch concentrations, and gas-exchange and elongation rates were measured on preexisting leaves (PE) already developed at 30/25°C or leaves newly developed (ND) subsequent to temperature transfer. Following a shift in growth temperature, there was a transient adjustment in metabolic gene transcript abundance of PE leaves before homoeostasis was reached within 24 hr, aligning with Rdark (leaf dark respiratory CO2 release) and An (net CO2 assimilation) changes. With longer exposure, the central respiratory protein cytochrome c oxidase (COX) declined in abundance at 40/35°C. In contrast to Rdark , An was maintained across the three growth temperatures in ND leaves. Soluble sugars did not differ significantly with growth temperature, and growth was fastest with extended exposure at 40/35°C. The results highlight that acclimation of photosynthesis and respiration is asynchronous in rice, with heat-acclimated plants exhibiting a striking ability to maintain net carbon gain and growth when exposed to heat-wave temperatures, even while reducing investment in energy-conserving respiratory pathways.

Keywords: acclimation; cold; cytochrome c oxidase (COX); heat; photosynthesis; respiration; rice; thermal stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / physiology*
  • Acclimatization / radiation effects
  • Biomass
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Cell Respiration / genetics
  • Cell Respiration / radiation effects
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Down-Regulation / radiation effects
  • Electron Transport / radiation effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / radiation effects
  • Gene Ontology
  • Light
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / radiation effects
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Oryza / physiology*
  • Oryza / radiation effects
  • Photosynthesis / physiology*
  • Photosynthesis / radiation effects
  • Plant Leaves / physiology*
  • Plant Leaves / radiation effects
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Temperature*
  • Up-Regulation / genetics
  • Up-Regulation / radiation effects


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Ribulose-Bisphosphate Carboxylase