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Characterization of the Gh4CL gene family reveals a role of Gh4CL7 in drought tolerance.


ABSTRACT:

Background

The function of 4-coumarate-CoA ligases (4CL) under abiotic stresses has been studied in plants, however, limited is known about the 4CL genes in cotton (G. hirsutum L.) and their roles in response to drought stress.

Results

We performed genome-wide identification of the 4CL genes in G. hirsutum and investigated the expression profiles of the identified genes in various cotton tissues and in response to stress conditions with an aim to identify 4CL gene(s) associated with drought tolerance. We identified 34 putative 4CL genes in G. hirsutum that were clustered into three classes. Genes of the same class usually share a similar gene structure and motif composition. Many cis-elements related to stress and phytohormone responses were found in the promoters of the Gh4CL genes. Of the 34 Gh4CL genes, 26 were induced by at least one abiotic stress and 10 (including Gh4CL7) were up-regulated under the polyethylene glycol (PEG) simulated drought stress conditions. Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) in cotton and overexpression (OE) in Arabidopsis thaliana were applied to investigate the biological function of Gh4CL7 in drought tolerance. The Gh4CL7-silencing cotton plants showed more sensitive to drought stress, probably due to decreased relative water content (RWC), chlorophyll content and antioxidative enzyme activity, increased stomatal aperture, and the contents of malondialdehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Arabidopsis lines overexpressing Gh4CL7, however, were more tolerant to drought treatment, which was associated with improved antioxidative enzyme activity, reduced accumulation of MDA and H2O2 and up-regulated stress-related genes under the drought stress conditions. In addition, compared to their respective controls, the Gh4CL7-silencing cotton plants and the Gh4CL7-overexpressing Arabidopsis lines had a ~?20% reduction and a ~?10% increase in lignin content, respectively. The expression levels of genes related to lignin biosynthesis, including PAL, CCoAOMT, COMT, CCR and CAD, were lower in Gh4CL7-silencing plants than in controls. Taken together, these results demonstrated that Gh4CL7 could positively respond to drought stress and therefore might be a candidate gene for improvement of drought tolerance in cotton.

Conclusion

We characterized the 4CL gene family in upland cotton and revealed a role of Gh4CL7 in lignin biosynthesis and drought tolerance.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7092558 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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