Metabolomic and proteomic changes in the xylem sap of maize under drought

Sophie Alvarez, Ellen L. Marsh, Steve G. Schroeder, Daniel P. Schachtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

300 Scopus citations


Plants produce compounds in roots that are transported to shoots via the xylem sap. Some of these compounds are vital for signalling and adaptation to environmental stress such as drought. In this study, we screened the xylem sap using mass spectrometry to quantify the changes in new and previously identified sap constituents under extended drought. We detected and quantified the changes in the concentration of 31 compounds present in the xylem sap under progressively increasing drought stress. We found changes in the hormones abscisic acid (ABA) and cytokinin, and the presence of high concentrations of the aromatic cytokinin 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP). Several phenylpropanoid compounds (coumaric, caffeic and ferulic acids) were found in xylem sap. The concentrations of some of these phenylpropanoid compounds changed under drought. In parallel, an analysis of the xylem sap proteome was conducted. We found a higher abundance of cationic peroxidases, which with the increase in phenylpropanoids may lead to a reduction in lignin biosynthesis in the xylem vessels and could induce cell wall stiffening. The application of new methodologies provides insights into the range of compounds in sap and how alterations in composition may lead to changes in development and signalling during adaptation to drought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-340
Number of pages16
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Abscisic acid
  • Cytokinins
  • LC-MS/MS
  • Multiple reaction monitoring (MRM)
  • Peroxidases
  • Phenylpropanoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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