Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Chowdhury et al., iScience 26, 108400 December 15, 2023 ª 2023 The Authors. j.isci.2023.108400


Open access.


Climate change has adversely affected maize productivity. Thereby, a holistic understanding of metabolic crosstalk among its organs is important to address this issue. Thus, we reconstructed the first multi-organ maize metabolicmodel, iZMA6517, and contextualized itwith heat and cold stress transcriptomics data using expression distributed reaction flux measurement (EXTREAM) algorithm. Furthermore, implementing metabolic bottleneck analysis on contextualized models revealed differences between these stresses. While both stresses had reducing power bottlenecks, heat stress had additional energy generation bottlenecks.We also performed thermodynamic driving force analysis, revealing thermodynamics-reducing power-energy generation axis dictating the nature of temperature stress responses. Thus, a temperaturetolerant maize ideotype can be engineered by leveraging the proposed thermodynamics-reducing powerenergy generation axis.We experimentally inoculated maize root with a beneficial mycorrhizal fungus, Rhizophagus irregularis, and as a proof-of-concept demonstrated its efficacy in alleviating temperature stress. Overall, this study will guide the engineering effort of temperature stress-tolerant maize ideotypes.