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Strategies shrubby junipers adopt to tolerate drought differ by site

Drought-induced dieback episodes are globally reported among forest ecosystems but they have been understudied in scrublands. Chronically-stressed individuals are supposed to be more vulnerable prior to drought which triggers death. Drought-triggered dieback and mortality events affecting Mediterranean Juniperus phoenicea scrublands were analyzed in two sites with contrasting climate and soil conditions located in Spain. The radial growth patterns of coexisting living and dead junipers, including the calculation of growth statistics used as early-warning signals, quantified growth response to climate, were characterized and the wood C and O isotope discrimination was analyzed. In the inland, continental site with rocky substrates (Yaso, Huesca, N Spain), dead junipers grew less than living junipers about three decades prior to the dieback started in 2016. However, in the coastal, mild site with sandy soils (Doñana, Huelva, SW Spain), dead junipers were smaller but grew more than living junipers about two decades before the dieback onset in 2005. The only common patterns between sites were the higher growth coherence in both living and dead junipers prior to the dieback, and the decrease in growth persistence of dead junipers. Cool and wet conditions in the prior winter and current spring, and cool summer conditions enhanced juniper growth. In Doñana, growth of living individuals was more reduced by warm July conditions than in the case of dead individuals. Higher ?13C values in Yaso indicate also more pronounced drought stress. In Yaso, dead junipers presented lower ?18O values, but the opposite occurred in Doñana suggesting different changes in stomatal conductance prior to death. Warm summer conditions enhance evapotranspiration rates and trigger dieback in this shallow-rooted species, particularly in sites with a poor water-holding capacity. Chronic, slow growth is not always a reliable predictor of drought-triggered mortality. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Camarero et al (2020) Dieback and mortality of junipers caused by drought: Dissimilar growth and wood isotope patterns preceding shrub death. Agr Forest Meteorol 291, 108078. DOI 10.1016/j.agrformet.2020.108078


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168192320301805?dgcid=author#ack0001
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Changes in melanocyte RNA and DNA methylation favor pheomelanin synthesis and may avoid systemic oxidative stress after dietary cysteine supplementation in birds

Changes in melanocyte RNA and DNA methylation favor pheomelanin synthesis and may avoid systemic oxidative stress after dietary cysteine supplementation in birds

Cysteine plays essential biological roles, but excessive amounts produce cellular oxidative stress. Cysteine metabolism is mainly mediated by the enzymes cysteine dioxygenase and ?-glutamylcysteine synthetase, respectively coded by the genes CDO1 and GCLC. Here a new hypothesis is tested posing that the synthesis of the pigment pheomelanin also contributes to cysteine homeostasis in melanocytes, where cysteine can enter the pheomelanogenesis pathway. An experiment was conducted in the Eurasian nuthatch Sitta europaea, a bird producing large amounts of pheomelanin for feather pigmentation, to investigate if melanocytes show epigenetic lability under exposure to excess cysteine. Systemic cysteine levels were increased in nuthatches by supplementing them with dietary cysteine during growth. This caused in feather melanocytes the downregulation of genes involved in intracellular cysteine metabolism (GCLC), cysteine transport to the cytosol from the extracellular medium (Slc7a11) and from melanosomes (CTNS), and regulation of tyrosinase activity (MC1R and ASIP). These changes were mediated by increases in DNA m5C in all genes excepting Slc7a11, which experienced RNA m6A depletion. Birds supplemented with cysteine synthesized more pheomelanin than controls, but did not suffer higher systemic oxidative stress. These results suggest that excess cysteine activates an epigenetic mechanism that favors pheomelanin synthesis and may protect from oxidative stress. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Rodríguez-Martínez et al (2019) Changes in melanocyte RNA and DNA methylation favor pheomelanin synthesis and may avoid systemic oxidative stress after dietary cysteine supplementation in birds


https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mec.15024