Comprehensive tissue-specific proteome analysis of drought stress responses in Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br. (Pearl millet)
Pearl millet is the fifth most important cereal crop worldwide and cultivated especially by small holder farmers in arid and semi-arid regions because of its drought and salt tolerance. The molecular mechanisms of drought stress tolerance in Pennisetum remain elusive. We have used a shotgun proteomics approach to investigate protein signatures from different tissues under drought and control conditions. Drought stressed plants showed significant changes in stomatal conductance and increased root growth compared to the control plants. Root, leaf and seed tissues were harvested and 2281 proteins were identified and quantified in total. Leaf tissue showed the largest number of significant changes (120), followed by roots (25) and seeds (10). Increased levels of root proteins involved in cell wall-, lipid-, secondary- and signaling metabolism and the concomitantly observed increased root length point to an impaired shoot–root communication under drought stress. The harvest index (HI) showed a significant reduction under drought stress. Proteins with a high correlation to the HI were identified using sparse partial least square (sPLS) analysis. Considering the importance of Pearl millet as a stress tolerant food crop, this study provides a first reference data set for future investigations of the underlying molecular mechanisms.