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Article|11 Feb 2022|OPEN
Time-course analysis and transcriptomic identification of key response strategies of Nelumbo nucifera to complete submergence
Xianbao Deng1,2 ,† , Dong Yang1,2 ,† , Heng Sun1 , Juan Liu1 , Heyun Song1,3 , Junyu Ma1,3 , Minghua Zhang1,3 , Jing Li4 , Yanling Liu1,2 , Mei Yang,1,2 ,
1Key Laboratory of Plant Germplasm Enhancement and Specialty Agriculture, Wuhan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China
2Center of Economic Botany, Core Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China
3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19A Yuquanlu, Beijing, 100049, China
4School of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Life Sciences, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430070, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 9,
Article number: uhac001 (2022)
Views: 28

Received: 08 May 2020
Accepted: 12 Dec 2021
Published online: 11 Feb 2022


Water submergence is an environmental stress with detrimental effects on plant growth and survival. As a wetland plant species, lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is widely cultivated in flood-prone lowlands throughout Asian countries, but little is known about its endurance and acclimation mechanisms to complete submergence. Here, we performed a time-course submergence experiment and an RNA-sequencing transcriptome analysis of the two lotus varieties “Qiuxing” and “China Antique”. Both varieties showed low submergence tolerance, with a median lethal time of approximately 10 days. Differentially expressed gene (DEG) analysis and weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) identified a number of key genes putatively involved in lotus submergence responses. Lotus plants under complete submergence developed thinned leaves and elongated petioles containing a high density of aerenchyma. All four lotus submergence-responsive ERF-VII genes and gene sets corresponding to the low oxygen “escape” strategy (LOES) were elevated. In addition, a number of lotus innate immunity genes were rapidly induced by submergence, probably to confer resistance to possible pathogen infections. Our data also reveal the probable involvement of jasmonic acid in the modulation of lotus submergence responses, although to a lesser extent than the gaseous hormone ethylene. These results suggest that lotus plants primarily use the LOES strategy to cope with complex submergence-induced stresses, and they will be valuable for understanding the molecular basis underlying plant submergence acclimation.