Browse Articles

Article|15 Oct 2021|OPEN
Heat-stress-induced sprouting and differential gene expression in growing potato tubers: Comparative transcriptomics with that induced by postharvest sprouting
Guodong Zhang1,2,3, Ruimin Tang3,4, Suyan Niu3,5, Qing Yang4,, Om P. Rajora6, Huaijun Si7 & Xiu-Qing Li3,
1Gansu Provincial Key Laboratory of Aridland Crop Science, Gansu Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic and Germplasm Enhancement, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou, China
2College of Agronomy, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou, China
3Fredericton Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Government of Canada, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
4College of Life Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China
5 Institute of Bioengineering, Zhengzhou Normal University, Zhengzhou, China
6Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada
7College of Life Science and Technology, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou, China

Horticulture Research 8,
Article number: 226 (2021)
doi: 10.1038/hortres.2021.226
Views: 229

Received: 16 Dec 2020
Revised: 08 Aug 2021
Accepted: 17 Aug 2021
Published online: 15 Oct 2021


Crops face increased risk from heat stress due to climate change. Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) tubers grown in hot summers often have defects including pre-harvest sprouting (“heat sprouts”). We have used 18 potato cultivars to investigate whether heat stress (HS) conditions alone could cause heat sprouting and dormancy changes in tubers. We also examined transcriptomic responses of potato to HS and whether these responses are like those induced by postharvest sprouting. We demonstrated that HS alone caused heat sprouts and shortened postharvest dormancy period, heat-sprouted tubers became dormant after harvest, and cultivars varied substantially for producing heat spouts but there was no clear association with cultivar maturity earliness. Cultivar Innovator did not show any heat sprouts and still had long dormancy. Dormancy-associated genes (DOG1 and SLP) were downregulated in HS tubers like in postharvest sprouting tubers. We have identified 1201 differentially expressed genes, 14 enriched GO terms and 12 enriched KEGG pathways in response to HS in growing tubers of ‘Russet Burbank’. Transcriptomic response of ‘Russet Burbank’ to HS showed significant similarities to that of postharvest non-HS sprouted tubers. Gibberellin biosynthesis pathway was enriched in heat-stressed tubers and was likely involved in heat sprouting and dormancy release. Heat sprouting and postharvest sprouting shared common candidate genes and had significant similarity in gene expression. Our study has significance for selecting potato cultivars for farming, planning storage and utilization of heat-stressed tubers, identifying sprouting-related genes, understanding heat-stress biology, and breeding heat-tolerant potato cultivars, especially for sustainable potato production under climate change.