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Transcript, protein and metabolite temporal dynamics in the CAM plant Agave

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Nature Plants
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ORNL researchers provide new insights into complex post-transcriptional and post-translational hierarchies that govern CAM photosynthesis in Agave.Already a proven mechanism for drought resilience, crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a specialized type of photosynthesis that maximizes water-use efficiency by means of an inverse (compared to C3and C4 photosynthesis) day/night pattern of stomatal closure/opening to shift CO2 uptake to the night, when evapotranspiration rates are low. A systems-level understanding of temporal molecular and metabolic controls is needed to define the cellular behaviour underpinning CAM. Here, we report high-resolution temporal behaviours of transcript, protein and metabolite abundances across a CAM diel cycle and, where applicable, compare the observations to the well-established C3 model plant Arabidopsis. A mechanistic finding that emerged is that CAM operates with a diel redox poise that is shifted relative to that in Arabidopsis. Moreover, we identify widespread rescheduled expression of genes associated with signal transduction mechanisms that regulate stomatal opening/closing. Controlled production and degradation of transcripts and proteins represents a timing mechanism by which to regulate cellular function, yet knowledge of how this molecular timekeeping regulates CAM is unknown. Here, we provide new insights into complex post-transcriptional and -translational hierarchies that govern CAM in Agave. These data sets provide a resource to inform efforts to engineer more efficient CAM traits into economically valuable C3 crops.