Image_2_The Effect of Drought on Transcriptome and Hormonal Profiles in Barley Genotypes With Contrasting Drought Tolerance.png (346.03 kB)
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posted on 23.12.2020, 05:32 by Amal Harb, Craig Simpson, Wenbin Guo, Ganesan Govindan, Vijaya Gopal Kakani, Ramanjulu Sunkar

Like many cereal crops, barley is also negatively affected by drought stress. However, due to its simple genome as well as enhanced stress resilient nature compared to rice and wheat, barley has been considered as a model to decipher drought tolerance in cereals. In the present study, transcriptomic and hormonal profiles along with several biochemical features were compared between drought-tolerant (Otis) and drought-sensitive (Baronesse) barley genotypes subjected to drought to identify molecular and biochemical differences between the genotypes. The drought-induced decrease in the leaf relative water content, net photosynthesis, and biomass accumulation was relatively low in Otis compared to Baronesse. The hormonal profiles did not reveal significant differences for majority of the compounds other than the GA20 and the cis-zeatin-o-glucoside (c-ZOG), whose levels were greatly increased in Otis compared to Baronesse under drought. The major differences that emerged from the transcriptome analysis are; (1), the overall number of differentially expressed genes was relatively low in drought-tolerant Otis compared to drought-sensitive Baronesse; (2), a wax biosynthesis gene (CER1), and NAC transcription factors were specifically induced in Otis but not in Baronesse; (3), the degree of upregulation of betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase and a homeobox transcription factor (genes with proven roles in imparting drought tolerance), was greater in Otis compared to Baronesse; (4) the extent of downregulation of gene expression profiles for proteins of the reaction center photosystem II (PSII) (D1 and D2) was low in Otis compared to Baronesse; and, (5), alternative splicing (AS) was also found to differ between the genotypes under drought. Taken together, the overall transcriptional responses were low in drought-tolerant Otis but the genes that could confer drought tolerance were either specifically induced or greatly upregulated in the tolerant genotype and these differences could be important for drought tolerance in barley.

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