Efficient Root Metabolism Improves Drought Resistance Of Festuca Arundinacea
Festuca arundinacea is a model to work on the mechanisms of drought resistance in grasses. The crucial components of that resistance still remain not fully recognized. It was suggested that deep root system could be a crucial trait for drought avoidance strategy but the other components of root performance under water deficit have not paid much attention of scientists. In this study, two genotypes of F. arundinacea with a different ability to withstand soil water deficit were selected to perform comprehensive research, including analysis of root architecture, phytohormones, proteome, primary metabolome and lipidome under progressive stress conditions, followed by a rewatering period. The experiments were performed in tubes, thus enabling undisturbed development of root systems. We demonstrated that long roots are not sufficient to perfectly avoid drought damage in F. arundinacea and to withstand adverse environmental conditions without a disturbed cellular metabolism (with respect to leaf relative water potential and cellular membrane integrity). Furthermore, we proved that metabolic performance of roots is as crucial as its architecture under water deficit, to cope with drought stress via avoidance, tolerance and regeneration strategies. We believe that the presented studies could be a good reference for the other, more applied experiments, in closely related species.