DOI: 10.1111/tpj.16570 ISSN: 0960-7412

The impact of multifactorial stress combination on reproductive tissues and grain yield of a crop plant

María Ángeles Peláez‐Vico, Ranjita Sinha, Sai Preethi Induri, Zhen Lyu, Sai Darahas Venigalla, Dinesh Vasireddy, Pallav Singh, Manish Sridhar Immadi, Lidia S. Pascual, Benjamin Shostak, David Mendoza‐Cózatl, Trupti Joshi, Felix B. Fritschi, Sara I. Zandalinas, Ron Mittler
  • Cell Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Genetics


Global warming, climate change, and industrial pollution are altering our environment subjecting plants, microbiomes, and ecosystems to an increasing number and complexity of abiotic stress conditions, concurrently or sequentially. These conditions, termed, “multifactorial stress combination” (MFSC), can cause a significant decline in plant growth and survival. However, the impacts of MFSC on reproductive tissues and yield of major crop plants are largely unknown. We subjected soybean (Glycine max) plants to a MFSC of up to five different stresses (water deficit, salinity, low phosphate, acidity, and cadmium), in an increasing level of complexity, and conducted integrative transcriptomic‐phenotypic analysis of their reproductive and vegetative tissues. We reveal that MFSC has a negative cumulative effect on soybean yield, that each set of MFSC condition elicits a unique transcriptomic response (that is different between flowers and leaves), and that selected genes expressed in leaves or flowers of soybean are linked to the effects of MFSC on different vegetative, physiological, and/or reproductive parameters. Our study identified networks and pathways associated with reactive oxygen species, ascorbic acid and aldarate, and iron/copper signaling/metabolism as promising targets for future biotechnological efforts to augment the resilience of reproductive tissues of major crop plants to MFSC. In addition, we provide unique phenotypic and transcriptomic datasets for dissecting the mechanistic effects of MFSC on the vegetative, physiological, and reproductive processes of a crop plant.

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