Low-temperature tolerance of the Antarctic species Deschampsia antarctica: A complex metabolic response associated with nutrient remobilization

María José Clemente-Moreno, Nooshin Omranian, Patricia L. Sáez, Carlos María Figueroa, Néstor Del-Saz, Mhartyn Elso, Leticia Poblete, Isabel Orf, Alvaro Cuadros-Inostroza, Lohengrin A. Cavieres, León Bravo, Alisdair R. Fernie, Miquel Ribas-Carbó, Jaume Flexas, Zoran Nikoloski, Yariv Brotman, Jorge Gago*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The species Deschampsia antarctica (DA) is one of the only two native vascular species that live in Antarctica. We performed ecophysiological, biochemical, and metabolomic studies to investigate the responses of DA to low temperature. In parallel, we assessed the responses in a non-Antarctic reference species (Triticum aestivum [TA]) from the same family (Poaceae). At low temperature (4°C), both species showed lower photosynthetic rates (reductions were 70% and 80% for DA and TA, respectively) and symptoms of oxidative stress but opposite responses of antioxidant enzymes (peroxidases and catalase). We employed fused least absolute shrinkage and selection operator statistical modelling to associate the species-dependent physiological and antioxidant responses to primary metabolism. Model results for DA indicated associations with osmoprotection, cell wall remodelling, membrane stabilization, and antioxidant secondary metabolism (synthesis of flavonols and phenylpropanoids), coordinated with nutrient mobilization from source to sink tissues (confirmed by elemental analysis), which were not observed in TA. The metabolic behaviour of DA, with significant changes in particular metabolites, was compared with a newly compiled multispecies dataset showing a general accumulation of metabolites in response to low temperatures. Altogether, the responses displayed by DA suggest a compromise between catabolism and maintenance of leaf functionality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1376-1393
Number of pages18
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico11130332
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
European Regional Development Fund


    • membrane stabilization
    • nutrient mobilization
    • osmoprotection
    • photosynthesis
    • primary metabolism
    • stress antioxidant response


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