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Effects of Photosystem-II-Interfering Herbicides Atrazine and Bentazon on the Soybean Transcriptome

  1. Jin Zhu,
  2. William L. Patzoldt,
  3. Osman Radwan,
  4. Patrick J. Tranel and
  5. Steven J. Clough 
  1. J. Zhu, W.L. Patzoldt, O. Radwan, P.J. Tranel, and S.J. Clough, Dep. of Crop Sciences, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801. S.J. Clough, USDA-ARS, Soybean/Maize Germplasm, Pathology, and Genetics Research Unit, Urbana, IL 61801. W.L. Patzoldt, current address: BASF Corporation, Crop Protection, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the University of Illinois. Expression data have been deposited for public access at National Center for Biotechnology Information Gene Expression Omnibus under accession no. GSE15377.


Atrazine and bentazon are both photosystem-II (PSII)–inhibiting herbicides that interfere with photosynthetic electron transport, provoking oxidative stress. While atrazine is lethal to soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], bentazon does not kill soybean because of the capability of soybeans to metabolize the herbicide. Gene expression profiling was conducted using cDNA microarrays to understand the responses of soybeans to PSII interruption and concomitant stress caused by atrazine and bentazon by monitoring expression at 1, 2, 4, and 8 h after treatment (HAT). The microarray study revealed that 6646 genes were differentially expressed with high statistical significance over the experiment, with 88% of them sharing similar expression pattern between the atrazine and bentazon treatments. Many genes related to xenobiotic detoxification and antioxidation, such as cytochrome P450s, glutathione-S-transferases, superoxide dismutases, catalases, and tocophero cyclases, were induced by the herbicides. The study also discovered plants treated with bentazon started to recover between 4 and 8 HAT as reflected in the decreased amplitude of fold changes of most genes from 4 to 8 HAT. The 12% of the genes that were differentially expressed between atrazine and bentazon were largely related to cell recovery, such as genes related to ribosomal components.

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