Comparative Root Transcriptomics Provide Insights into Drought Adaptation Strategies in Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.).
ABSTRACT: Drought adversely affects crop production across the globe. The root system immensely contributes to water management and the adaptability of plants to drought stress. In this study, drought-induced phenotypic and transcriptomic responses of two contrasting chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) genotypes were compared at the vegetative, reproductive transition, and reproductive stages. At the vegetative stage, drought-tolerant genotype maintained higher root biomass, length, and surface area under drought stress as compared to sensitive genotype. However, at the reproductive stage, root length and surface area of tolerant genotype was lower but displayed higher root diameter than sensitive genotype. The shoot biomass of tolerant genotype was overall higher than the sensitive genotype under drought stress. RNA-seq analysis identified genotype- and developmental-stage specific differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in response to drought stress. At the vegetative stage, a total of 2161 and 1873 DEGs, and at reproductive stage 4109 and 3772 DEGs, were identified in the tolerant and sensitive genotypes, respectively. Gene ontology (GO) analysis revealed enrichment of biological categories related to cellular process, metabolic process, response to stimulus, response to abiotic stress, and response to hormones. Interestingly, the expression of stress-responsive transcription factors, kinases, ROS signaling and scavenging, transporters, root nodulation, and oxylipin biosynthesis genes were robustly upregulated in the tolerant genotype, possibly contributing to drought adaptation. Furthermore, activation/repression of hormone signaling and biosynthesis genes was observed. Overall, this study sheds new insights on drought tolerance mechanisms operating in roots with broader implications for chickpea improvement.
Project description:Chickpea is mostly grown on stored soil moisture, and deep/profuse rooting has been hypothesized for almost three decades to be critical for improving chickpea tolerance to terminal drought. However, temporal patterns of water use that leave water available for reproduction and grain filling could be equally critical. Therefore, variation in water use pattern and root depth/density were measured, and their relationships to yield tested under fully irrigated and terminal drought stress, using lysimeters that provided soil volumes equivalent to field conditions. Twenty chickpea genotypes having similar plant phenology but contrasting for a field-derived terminal drought-tolerance index based on yield were used. The pattern of water extraction clearly discriminated tolerant and sensitive genotypes. Tolerant genotypes had a lower water uptake and a lower index of stomatal conductance at the vegetative stage than sensitive ones, while tolerant genotypes extracted more water than sensitive genotypes after flowering. The magnitude of the variation in root growth components (depth, length density, RLD, dry weight, RDW) did not distinguish tolerant from sensitive genotypes. The seed yield was not significantly correlated with the root length density (RLD) in any soil layers, whereas seed yield was both negatively related to water uptake between 23-38 DAS, and positively related to water uptake between 48-61 DAS. Under these conditions of terminal drought, the most critical component of tolerance in chickpea was the conservative use of water early in the cropping cycle, explained partly by a lower canopy conductance, which resulted in more water available in the soil profile during reproduction leading to higher reproductive success.
Project description:Salinity is a major constraint for intrinsically salt sensitive grain legume chickpea. Chickpea exhibits large genetic variation amongst cultivars, which show better yields in saline conditions but still need to be improved further for sustainable crop production. Based on previous multi-location physiological screening, JG 11 (salt tolerant) and ICCV 2 (salt sensitive) were subjected to salt stress to evaluate their physiological and transcriptional responses. A total of ~480 million RNA-Seq reads were sequenced from root tissues which resulted in identification of 3,053 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in response to salt stress. Reproductive stage shows high number of DEGs suggesting major transcriptional reorganization in response to salt to enable tolerance. Importantly, cationic peroxidase, Aspartic ase, NRT1/PTR, phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinase, DREB1E and ERF genes were significantly up-regulated in tolerant genotype. In addition, we identified a suite of important genes involved in cell wall modification and root morphogenesis such as dirigent proteins, expansin and casparian strip membrane proteins that could potentially confer salt tolerance. Further, phytohormonal cross-talk between ERF and PIN-FORMED genes which modulate the root growth was observed. The gene set enrichment analysis and functional annotation of these genes suggests they may be utilised as potential candidates for improving chickpea salt tolerance.
Project description:Chickpea is one of the most economically important food legumes, and a significant source of proteins. It is cultivated in more than 50 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, and South America. Chickpea production is limited by various abiotic stresses (cold, heat, drought, salt, etc.). Being a winter-season crop in northern south Asia and some parts of the Australia, chickpea faces low-temperature stress (0-15°C) during the reproductive stage that causes substantial loss of flowers, and thus pods, to inhibit its yield potential by 30-40%. The winter-sown chickpea in the Mediterranean, however, faces cold stress at vegetative stage. In late-sown environments, chickpea faces high-temperature stress during reproductive and pod filling stages, causing considerable yield losses. Both the low and the high temperatures reduce pollen viability, pollen germination on the stigma, and pollen tube growth resulting in poor pod set. Chickpea also experiences drought stress at various growth stages; terminal drought, along with heat stress at flowering and seed filling can reduce yields by 40-45%. In southern Australia and northern regions of south Asia, lack of chilling tolerance in cultivars delays flowering and pod set, and the crop is usually exposed to terminal drought. The incidences of temperature extremes (cold and heat) as well as inconsistent rainfall patterns are expected to increase in near future owing to climate change thereby necessitating the development of stress-tolerant and climate-resilient chickpea cultivars having region specific traits, which perform well under drought, heat, and/or low-temperature stress. Different approaches, such as genetic variability, genomic selection, molecular markers involving quantitative trait loci (QTLs), whole genome sequencing, and transcriptomics analysis have been exploited to improve chickpea production in extreme environments. Biotechnological tools have broadened our understanding of genetic basis as well as plants' responses to abiotic stresses in chickpea, and have opened opportunities to develop stress tolerant chickpea.
Project description:Drought is the most important constraint that effects chickpea production globally. RNA-Seq has great potential to dissect the molecular mechanisms of tolerance to environmental stresses. Transcriptome profiles in roots and shoots of two contrasting Iranian kabuli chickpea genotypes (Bivanij and Hashem) were investigated under water-limited conditions at early flowering stage using RNA-Seq approach. A total of 4,572 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified. Of these, 261 and 169 drought stress responsive genes were identified in the shoots and the roots, respectively, and 17 genes were common in the shoots and the roots. Gene Ontology (GO) analysis revealed several sub-categories related to the stress, including response to stress, defense response and response to stimulus in the tolerant genotype Bivanij as compared to the sensitive genotype Hashem under drought stress. In addition, several Transcription factors (TFs) were identified in major metabolic pathways such as, ABA, proline and flavonoid biosynthesis. Furthermore, a number of the DEGs were observed in "QTL-hotspot" regions which were reported earlier in chickpea. Drought tolerance dissection in the genotypes revealed that the genes and the pathways involved in shoots of Bivanij were the most important factor to make a difference between the genotypes for drought tolerance. The identified TFs in the experiment, particularly those which were up-regulated in shoots of Bivanij during drought stress, were potential candidates for enhancing tolerance to drought.
Project description:Drought and salinity are the major factors that limit the faba bean (Vicia faba L.) production worldwide. The aim of this study is to identify the water stress differentially expressed genes (DEGs) through the root transcriptome analyses of the drought-tolerant Hassawi 2 genotype at vegetative and flowering stages. A total of 624.8 M high-quality Illumina reads were generated and assembled into 198,155 all-unigenes with a mean length of 738 bp and an N50 length of 1347 bp. Among all-unigenes, 78,262 were assigned to non-redundant (Nr), 66,254 to nucleotide (Nt), 54,034 to KEGG, and 43,913 to gene ontology (GO) annotations. A total of 36,834 and 35,510 unigenes were differentially expressed at the vegetative and flowering stages of Hassawi 2 under drought stress, respectively. The majority of unigenes were down-regulated at both developmental stages. However, the number of genes up-regulated (15,366) at the flowering stage exceeded the number of those up-regulated (14,097) at the vegetative stage, and the number of genes down-regulated (20,144) at the flowering stage was smaller than the number of those down-regulated (22,737) at the vegetative stage. The drought stress-responsive differentially expressed unigenes coded for various regulatory proteins, including protein kinases and phosphatases, transcription factors and plant hormones and functional proteins including enzymes for osmoprotectant, detoxification and transporters were differentially expressed, most of which were largely up-regulated. Moreover, a substantial proportion of the DEGs identified in this study were novel, most exhibited a significant change in their expression levels under water stress, making them an unexploited resource that might control specific responses to drought stress in the faba bean. Finally, qRT-PCR results were found almost consistent with the results of next-generation sequencing. Our data will help in understanding the drought tolerance mechanisms in plants and will provide resources for functional genomics.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an important grain-legume crop that is mainly grown in rainfed areas, where terminal drought is a major constraint to its productivity. We generated expressed sequence tags (ESTs) by suppression subtraction hybridization (SSH) to identify differentially expressed genes in drought-tolerant and -susceptible genotypes in chickpea. RESULTS: EST libraries were generated by SSH from root and shoot tissues of IC4958 (drought tolerant) and ICC 1882 (drought resistant) exposed to terminal drought conditions by the dry down method. SSH libraries were also constructed by using 2 sets of bulks prepared from the RNA of root tissues from selected recombinant inbred lines (RILs) (10 each) for the extreme high and low root biomass phenotype. A total of 3062 unigenes (638 contigs and 2424 singletons), 51.4% of which were novel in chickpea, were derived by cluster assembly and sequence alignment of 5949 ESTs. Only 2185 (71%) unigenes showed significant BLASTX similarity (<1E-06) in the NCBI non-redundant (nr) database. Gene ontology functional classification terms (BLASTX results and GO term), were retrieved for 2006 (92.0%) sequences, and 656 sequences were further annotated with 812 Enzyme Commission (EC) codes and were mapped to 108 different KEGG pathways. In addition, expression status of 830 unigenes in response to terminal drought stress was evaluated using macro-array (dot blots). The expression of few selected genes was validated by northern blotting and quantitative real-time PCR assay. CONCLUSION: Our study compares not only genes that are up- and down-regulated in a drought-tolerant genotype under terminal drought stress and a drought susceptible genotype but also between the bulks of the selected RILs exhibiting extreme phenotypes. More than 50% of the genes identified have been shown to be associated with drought stress in chickpea for the first time. This study not only serves as resource for marker discovery, but can provide a better insight into the selection of candidate genes (both up- and downregulated) associated with drought tolerance. These results can be used to identify suitable targets for manipulating the drought-tolerance trait in chickpea.
Project description:Chickpea, the second most important legume crop, suffers major yield losses by terminal drought stress (DS). Stronger root system is known to enhance drought yields but this understanding remains controversial. To understand precisely the root traits contribution towards yield, 12 chickpea genotypes with well-known drought response were field evaluated under drought and optimal irrigation. Root traits, such as root length density (RLD), total root dry weight (RDW), deep root dry weight (deep RDW) and root:shoot ratio (RSR), were measured periodically by soil coring up to 1.2 m soil depth across drought treatments. Large variations were observed for RLD, RDW, deep RDW and RSR in both the drought treatments. DS increased RLD below 30 cm soil depth, deep RDW, RSR but decreased the root diameter. DS increased the genetic variation in RDW more at the penultimate soil depths. Genetic variation under drought was the widest for RLD ?50 DAS, for deep RDW ?50-75 DAS and for RSR at 35 DAS. Genotypes ICC 4958, ICC 8261, Annigeri, ICC 14799, ICC 283 and ICC 867 at vegetative stage and genotypes ICC 14778, ICCV 10, ICC 3325, ICC 14799 and ICC 1882 at the reproductive phase produced greater RLD. Path- and correlation coefficients revealed strong positive contributions of RLD after 45 DAS, deep RDW at vicinity of maturity and RSR at early podfill stages to yield under drought. Breeding for the best combination of profuse RLD at surface soil depths, and RDW at deeper soil layers, was proposed to be the best selection strategy, for an efficient water use and an enhanced terminal drought tolerance in chickpea.
Project description:Water availability is a major limiting factor for wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production in rain-fed agricultural systems worldwide. Root architecture is important for water and nutrition acquisition for all crops, including wheat. A set of 158 diverse wheat genotypes of Australian (72) and Indian (86) origin were studied for morpho-agronomical traits in field under irrigated and drought stress conditions during 2010-11 and 2011-12.Out of these 31 Indian wheat genotypes comprising 28 hexaploid (Triticum aestivum L.) and 3 tetraploid (T. durum) were characterized for root traits at reproductive stage in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes. Roots of drought tolerant genotypes grew upto137cm (C306) as compared to sensitive one of 63cm with a mean value of 94.8cm. Root architecture traits of four drought tolerant (C306, HW2004, HD2888 and NI5439) and drought sensitive (HD2877, HD2012, HD2851 and MACS2496) genotypes were also observed at 6 and 9 days old seedling stage. The genotypes did not show any significant variation for root traits except for longer coleoptiles and shoot and higher absorptive surface area in drought tolerant genotypes. The visible evaluation of root images using WinRhizo Tron root scanner of drought tolerant genotype HW2004 indicated compact root system with longer depth while drought sensitive genotype HD2877 exhibited higher horizontal root spread and less depth at reproductive stage. Thirty SSR markers were used to study genetic variation which ranged from 0.12 to 0.77 with an average value of 0.57. The genotypes were categorized into three subgroups as highly tolerant, sensitive, moderately sensitive and tolerant as intermediate group based on UPGMA cluster, STRUCTURE and principal coordinate analyses. The genotypic clustering was positively correlated to grouping based on root and morpho-agronomical traits. The genetic variability identified in current study demonstrated these traits can be used to improve drought tolerance and association mapping.
Project description:Drought is the major abiotic stress to rice grain yield under unpredictable changing climatic scenarios. The widely grown, high yielding but drought susceptible rice varieties need to be improved by unraveling the genomic regions controlling traits enhancing drought tolerance. The present study was conducted with the aim to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for grain yield and root development traits under irrigated non-stress and reproductive-stage drought stress in both lowland and upland situations. A mapping population consisting of 480 lines derived from a cross between Dular (drought-tolerant) and IR64-21 (drought susceptible) was used. QTL analysis revealed three major consistent-effect QTLs for grain yield (qDTY1.1, qDTY1.3 , and qDTY8.1 ) under non-stress and reproductive-stage drought stress conditions, and 2 QTLs for root traits (qRT9.1 for root-growth angle and qRT5.1 for multiple root traits, i.e., seedling-stage root length, root dry weight and crown root number). The genetic locus qDTY1.1 was identified as hotspot for grain yield and yield-related agronomic and root traits. The study identified significant positive correlations among numbers of crown roots and mesocotyl length at the seedling stage and root length and root dry weight at depth at later stages with grain yield and yield-related traits. Under reproductive stage drought stress, the grain yield advantage of the lines with QTLs ranged from 24.1 to 108.9% under upland and 3.0-22.7% under lowland conditions over the lines without QTLs. The lines with QTL combinations qDTY1.3 +qDTY8.1 showed the highest mean grain yield advantage followed by lines having qDTY1.1 +qDTY8.1 and qDTY1.1 +qDTY8.1 +qDTY1.3 , across upland/lowland reproductive-stage drought stress. The identified QTLs for root traits, mesocotyl length, grain yield and yield-related traits can be immediately deployed in marker-assisted breeding to develop drought tolerant high yielding rice varieties.
Project description:Cytokinin group of phytohormones regulate root elongation and branching during post-embryonic development. Cytokinin-degrading enzymes cytokinin oxidases/dehydrogenases (CKXs) have been deployed to investigate biological activities of cytokinin and to engineer root growth. We expressed chickpea cytokinin oxidase 6 (CaCKX6) under the control of a chickpea root-specific promoter of CaWRKY31 in Arabidopsis thaliana and chickpea having determinate and indeterminate growth patterns, respectively, to study the effect of cytokinin depletion on root growth and drought tolerance. Root-specific expression of CaCKX6 led to a significant increase in lateral root number and root biomass in Arabidopsis and chickpea without any penalty to vegetative and reproductive growth of shoot. Transgenic chickpea lines showed increased CKX activity in root. Soil-grown advanced chickpea transgenic lines exhibited higher root-to-shoot biomass ratio and enhanced long-term drought tolerance. These chickpea lines were not compromised in root nodulation and nitrogen fixation. The seed yield in some lines was up to 25% higher with no penalty in protein content. Transgenic chickpea seeds possessed higher levels of zinc, iron, potassium and copper. Our results demonstrated the potential of cytokinin level manipulation in increasing lateral root number and root biomass for agronomic trait improvement in an edible legume crop with indeterminate growth habit.