Characterization of Pearl Millet Root Architecture and Anatomy Reveals Three Types of Lateral Roots.
ABSTRACT: Pearl millet plays an important role for food security in arid regions of Africa and India. Nevertheless, it is considered an orphan crop as it lags far behind other cereals in terms of genetic improvement efforts. Breeding pearl millet varieties with improved root traits promises to deliver benefits in water and nutrient acquisition. Here, we characterize early pearl millet root system development using several different root phenotyping approaches that include rhizotrons and microCT. We report that early stage pearl millet root system development is characterized by a fast growing primary root that quickly colonizes deeper soil horizons. We also describe root anatomical studies that revealed three distinct types of lateral roots that form on both primary roots and crown roots. Finally, we detected significant variation for two root architectural traits, primary root lenght and lateral root density, in pearl millet inbred lines. This study provides the basis for subsequent genetic experiments to identify loci associated with interesting early root development traits in this important cereal.
Project description:Pearl millet is able to withstand dry and hot conditions and plays an important role for food security in arid and semi-arid areas of Africa and India. However, low soil fertility and drought constrain pearl millet yield. One target to address these constraints through agricultural practices or breeding is root system architecture. In this study, in order to easily phenotype the root system in field conditions, we developed a model to predict root length density (RLD) of pearl millet plants from root intersection densities (RID) counted on a trench profile in field conditions. We identified root orientation as an important parameter to improve the relationship between RID and RLD. Root orientation was notably found to depend on soil depth and to differ between thick roots (more anisotropic with depth) and fine roots (isotropic at all depths). We used our model to study pearl millet root system response to drought and showed that pearl millet reorients its root growth toward deeper soil layers that retain more water in these conditions. Overall, this model opens ways for the characterization of the impact of environmental factors and management practices on pearl millet root system development.
Project description:We analysed global gene expression in the primary root tip of 2 pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) inbred lines with high (line 249) and low (line 337) primary root growth using RNAseq. The objective was to identify genes potentially associated with changes in root growth. Overall design: Two pearl millet lines with contrasted root soil aggregation were grown in hydropony for 15 days. 3 biological replicates were produced per line. RNA was extracted from the primary root tip (2 cm apex). RNA-seq was performed by the Montpellier GenomiX Platform (MGX, https://www.mgx.cnrs.fr/). Sequencing was performed on an Illumina HiSeq 2500.
Project description:BACKGROUND: During the Neolithic revolution, early farmers altered plant development to domesticate crops. Similar traits were often selected independently in different wild species; yet the genetic basis of this parallel phenotypic evolution remains elusive. Plant architecture ranks among these target traits composing the domestication syndrome. We focused on the reduction of branching which occurred in several cereals, an adaptation known to rely on the major gene Teosinte-branched1 (Tb1) in maize. We investigate the role of the Tb1 orthologue (Pgtb1) in the domestication of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum), an African outcrossing cereal. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Gene cloning, expression profiling, QTL mapping and molecular evolution analysis were combined in a comparative approach between pearl millet and maize. Our results in pearl millet support a role for PgTb1 in domestication despite important differences in the genetic basis of branching adaptation in that species compared to maize (e.g. weaker effects of PgTb1). Genetic maps suggest this pattern to be consistent in other cereals with reduced branching (e.g. sorghum, foxtail millet). Moreover, although the adaptive sites underlying domestication were not formerly identified, signatures of selection pointed to putative regulatory regions upstream of both Tb1 orthologues in maize and pearl millet. However, the signature of human selection in the pearl millet Tb1 is much weaker in pearl millet than in maize. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results suggest that some level of parallel evolution involved at least regions directly upstream of Tb1 for the domestication of pearl millet and maize. This was unanticipated given the multigenic basis of domestication traits and the divergence of wild progenitor species for over 30 million years prior to human selection. We also hypothesized that regular introgression of domestic pearl millet phenotypes by genes from the wild gene pool could explain why the selective sweep in pearl millet is softer than in maize.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pearl millet, a nutritious food for around 100 million people in Africa and India, displays extensive genetic diversity and a high degree of admixture with wild relatives. Two major morphotypes can be distinguished in Senegal: early-flowering Souna and late-flowering Sanio. Phenotypic variabilities related to flowering time play an important role in the adaptation of pearl millet to climate variability. A better understanding of the genetic makeup of these variabilities would make it possible to breed pearl millet to suit regions with different climates. The aim of this study was to characterize the genetic basis of these phenotypic differences. RESULTS:We defined a core collection that captures most of the diversity of cultivated pearl millets in Senegal and includes 60 early-flowering Souna and 31 late-flowering Sanio morphotypes. Sixteen agro-morphological traits were evaluated in the panel in the 2016 and 2017 rainy seasons. Phenological and phenotypic traits related with yield, flowering time, and biomass helped differentiate early- and late-flowering morphotypes. Further, using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS), 21,663 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) markers with more than 5% of minor allele frequencies were discovered. Sparse non-negative matrix factorization (sNMF) analysis confirmed the genetic structure in two gene pools associated with differences in flowering time. Two chromosomal regions on linkage groups (LG 3) (~?89.7?Mb) and (LG 6) (~?68.1?Mb) differentiated two clusters among the early-flowering Souna. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was used to link phenotypic variation to the SNPs, and 18 genes were linked to flowering time, plant height, tillering, and biomass (P-value < 2.3E-06). CONCLUSIONS:The diversity of early- and late-flowering pearl millet morphotypes in Senegal was captured using a heuristic approach. Key phenological and phenotypic traits, SNPs, and candidate genes underlying flowering time, tillering, biomass yield and plant height of pearl millet were identified. Chromosome rearrangements in LG3 and LG6 were inferred as a source of variation in early-flowering morphotypes. Using candidate genes underlying these features between pearl millet morphotypes will be of paramount importance in breeding for resilience to climatic variability.
Project description:Native endophytic actinomycetes isolated from pearl millet roots were examined for their efficacy to protect pearl millet against downy mildew. Nineteen of 39 isolates were found to be proteolytic, of which 7 strains could directly suppress the sporangium formation of Sclerospora graminicola, the pearl millet downy mildew pathogen. Thus, mycelial suspensions containing either spores or cell-free extract of these 7 isolates were used for seed-coating and -soaking treatments to test for their induction of downy mildew resistance. Results indicated that seed-coating overall provided better protection to downy mildew than seed-soaking. In both treatments, the tested isolates demonstrated differential abilities in downy mildew disease protection, with Streptomyces griseus SJ_UOM-07-09 and Streptosporangium roseum SJ_UOM-18-09 showing the highest protection rates. Additionally, the levels of disease protection conferred by the actinomycetes were just slightly lower than that of the systemic fungicide Apron, suggesting their effectiveness. Further studies revealed that the more rapid root colonization by SJ_UOM-18-09 resulted in faster and higher induced resistance in comparison with SJ_UOM-07-09 under greenhouse conditions, indicating that SJ_UOM-18-09 was superior than SJ_UOM-07-09 in inducing resistance. Results from this study provide comprehensive information on biocontrol functions of SJ_UOM- 18-09 with great potential to control downy mildew disease in pearl millet.
Project description:Pearl millet is a key cereal for food security in arid and semi-arid regions but its yield is increasingly threatened by water stress. Physiological mechanisms relating to conservation of soil water or increased water use efficiency can alleviate that stress. Aquaporins (AQP) are water channels that mediate root water transport, thereby influencing plant hydraulics, transpiration and soil water conservation. However, AQP remain largely uncharacterized in pearl millet. Here, we studied AQP function in root water transport in two pearl millet lines contrasting for water use efficiency (WUE). We observed that these lines also contrasted for root hydraulic conductivity (Lpr) and AQP contribution to Lpr. The line with lower WUE showed significantly higher AQP contribution to Lpr. To investigate AQP isoforms contributing to Lpr, we developed genomic approaches to first identify the entire AQP family in pearl millet and secondly, characterize the plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIP) gene expression profile. We identified and annotated 33 AQP genes in pearl millet, among which ten encoded PIP isoforms. PgPIP1-3 and PgPIP1-4 were significantly more expressed in the line showing lower WUE, higher Lpr and higher AQP contribution to Lpr. Overall, our study suggests that the PIP1 AQP family are the main regulators of Lpr in pearl millet and may possibly be associated with mechanisms associated to whole plant water use. This study paves the way for further investigations on AQP functions in pearl millet hydraulics and adaptation to environmental stresses.
Project description:This paper outlines a numerical scheme for accurate, detailed, and high-throughput image analysis of plant roots. In contrast to existing root image analysis tools that focus on root system-average traits, a novel, fully automated and robust approach for the detailed characterization of root traits, based on a graph optimization process is presented. The scheme, firstly, distinguishes primary roots from lateral roots and, secondly, quantifies a broad spectrum of root traits for each identified primary and lateral root. Thirdly, it associates lateral roots and their properties with the specific primary root from which the laterals emerge. The performance of this approach was evaluated through comparisons with other automated and semi-automated software solutions as well as against results based on manual measurements. The comparisons and subsequent application of the algorithm to an array of experimental data demonstrate that this method outperforms existing methods in terms of accuracy, robustness, and the ability to process root images under high-throughput conditions.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The distribution area of pearl millet in West and Central Africa (WCA) harbours a wide range of climatic and environmental conditions as well as diverse farmer preferences and pearl millet utilization habits which have the potential to lead to local adaptation and thereby to population structure. The objectives of our research were to (i) assess the geographical distribution of genetic diversity in pearl millet inbreds derived from landraces, (ii) assess the population structure of pearl millet from WCA, and (iii) identify those geographical parameters and environmental factors from the location at which landraces were sampled, as well as those phenotypic traits that may have affected or led to this population structure. Our study was based on a set of 145 inbred lines derived from 122 different pearl millet landraces from WCA. RESULTS: Five sub-groups were detected within the entire germplasm set by STRUCTURE. We observed that the phenotypic traits flowering time, relative response to photoperiod, and panicle length were significantly associated with population structure but not the environmental factors which are expected to influence these traits in natural populations such as latitude, temperature, or precipitation. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggested that for pearl millet natural selection is compared to artificial selection less important in shaping populations.
Project description:We analyzed global gene expression in the crown tip of 2 pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) inbred lines with high (line 249) and low (line 220) root soil aggregation using RNAseq. The obtective was to identify genes potentially associated with changes in rhizosheath formation. Overall design: Two pearl millet lines with contrasted root soil aggregation were grown in hydropony for 15 days. 3 biological replicates were produced per line. RNA was extracted from the crown root tip (2 cm apex). RNA-seq was performed by the Montpellier GenomiX Platform (MGX, https://www.mgx.cnrs.fr/). Sequencing was performed on an Illumina HiSeq 2500.
Project description:Phosphate (Pi), an essential macronutrient for growth and development of plant, is often limiting in soils. Plants have evolved an array of adaptive strategies including modulation of root system architecture (RSA) for optimal acquisition of Pi. In rice, a major staple food, RSA is complex and comprises embryonically developed primary and seminal roots and post-embryonically developed adventitious and lateral roots. Earlier studies have used variant hydroponic systems for documenting the effects of Pi deficiency largely on primary root growth. Here, we report the temporal effects of Pi deficiency in rice genotype MI48 on 15 ontogenetically distinct root traits by using easy-to-assemble and economically viable modified hydroponic system. Effects of Pi deprivation became evident after 4 days- and 7 days-treatments on two and eight different root traits, respectively. The effects of Pi deprivation for 7 days were also evident on different root traits of rice genotype Nagina 22 (N22). There were genotypic differences in the responses of primary root growth along with lateral roots on it and the number and length of seminal and adventitious roots. Notably though, there were attenuating effects of Pi deficiency on the lateral roots on seminal and adventitious roots and total root length in both these genotypes. The study thus revealed both differential and comparable effects of Pi deficiency on different root traits in these genotypes. Pi deficiency also triggered reduction in Pi content and induction of several Pi starvation-responsive (PSR) genes in roots of MI48. Together, the analyses validated the fidelity of this modified hydroponic system for documenting Pi deficiency-mediated effects not only on different traits of RSA but also on physiological and molecular responses.