Molecular responses of genetically modified maize to abiotic stresses as determined through proteomic and metabolomic analyses


GenØk researchers have contributed to a new publication in the prestigious magazine PLoS ONE. The article is based on work done by previously GenØk Exchange researcher Rafael F. Benevento during his stay in South Africa (2014-2015).

Some genetically modified (GM) plants have transgenes that confer tolerance to abiotic stressors. Meanwhile, other transgenes may interact with abiotic stressors, causing pleiotropic effects that will affect the plant physiology. Thus, physiological alteration might have an impact on the product safety. However, routine risk assessment (RA) analyses do not evaluate the response of GM plants exposed to different environmental conditions. Therefore, we here present a proteome profile of herbicide-tolerant maize, including the levels of phytohormones and related compounds, compared to its near-isogenic non-GM variety under drought and herbicide stresses. Twenty differentially abundant proteins were detected between GM and non-GM hybrids under different water deficiency conditions and herbicide sprays. Pathway enrichment analysis showed that most of these proteins are assigned to energetic/carbohydrate metabolic processes. Among phytohormones and related compounds, different levels of ABA, CA, JA, MeJA and SA were detected in the maize varieties and stress conditions analysed. In pathway and proteome analyses, environment was found to be the major source of variation followed by the genetic transformation factor. Nonetheless, differences were detected in the levels of JA, MeJA and CA and in the abundance of 11 proteins when comparing the GM plant and its non-GM near-isogenic variety under the same environmental conditions. Thus, these findings do support molecular studies in GM plants Risk Assessment analyses.

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Benvenuto, R.F., Agapito-Tenfen, S., Vilperte, V., Wikmark, O.-G., van Rensburg, P. J. and Nodari, N. (2017). “Molecular responses of genetically modified maize to abiotic stresses as determined through proteomic and metabolomic analyses“, PLoS ONE 12(2): e0173069. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0173069 (open access)

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