IJMS, Vol. 20, Pages 736: An Altered Circadian Clock Coupled with a Higher Photosynthesis Efficiency Could Explain the Better Agronomic Performance of a New Coffee Clone When Compared with a Standard Variety (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
In a context where climate change is threatening coffee productivity, the management of coffee leaf rust is a challenging issue. Major resistant genes, which have been used for many years, are systematically being overcome by pathogens. Developing healthy plants, able to defend themselves and be productive even when attacked by the pathogen, should be part of a more sustainable alternative approach. We compared one hybrid (GPFA124), selected for its good health in various environments including a reduced rust incidence, and the cv. ‘Caturra’, considered as a standard in terms of productivity and quality but highly susceptible to rust, for phenotypic variables and for the expression of genes involved in the circadian clock and in primary photosynthetic metabolism. The GPFA124 hybrid showed increased photosynthetic electron transport efficiency, better carbon partitioning, and higher chlorophyll content. A strong relationship exists between chlorophyll a fluorescence and the expression of genes related to the photosynthetic electron transport chain. We also showed an alteration of the amplitude of circadian clock genes in the clone. Our work also indicated that increased photosynthetic electron transport efficiency is related to the clone’s better performance. Chlorophyll a fluorescence measurement is a good indicator of the coffee tree’s physiological status for the breeder. We suggest a connection between the circadian clock and carbon metabolism in coffee tree.