25 March 2021

Physiological and molecular attributes contribute to high night temperature tolerance in cereals

Schaarschmidt S, Lawas LMF, Kopka J, Jagadish SVK, Zuther E - Plant, Cell and Environment, 2021


Asymmetric warming resulting in a faster increase in night compared to day temperatures affects crop yields negatively. Physiological characterization and agronomic findings have been complemented more recently by molecular biology approaches including transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic and lipidomic investigations in crops exposed to high night temperature (HNT) conditions. Nevertheless, the understanding of the underlying mechanisms causing yield decline under HNT is still limited. The discovery of significant differences between HNT-tolerant and HNT-sensitive cultivars is one of the main research directions to secure continuous food supply under the challenge of increasing climate change. With this review, we provide a summary of current knowledge on the physiological and molecular basis of contrasting HNT tolerance in rice and wheat cultivars. Requirements for HNT tolerance and the special adaptation strategies of the HNT-tolerant rice cultivar Nagina-22 (N22) are discussed. Putative metabolite markers for HNT tolerance useful for marker-assisted breeding are suggested, together with future research directions aimed at improving food security under HNT conditions.

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