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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Characterization of Dynamic Regulatory Gene and Protein Networks in Wheat Roots Upon Perceiving Water Deficit Through Comparative Transcriptomics Survey

Rahimi, Yousef; Ingvarsson, Paer K.; Bihamta, Mohammad Reza; Alipour, Hadi; Taleei, Alireza; Khoshnoodi Jabar Abadi, Shaghayegh


A well-developed root system benefits host plants by optimizing water absorption and nutrient uptake and thereby increases plant productivity. In this study we have characterized the root transcriptome using RNA-seq and subsequential functional analysis in a set of drought tolerant and susceptible genotypes. The goal of the study was to elucidate and characterize water deficit-responsive genes in wheat landraces that had been through long-term field and biochemical screening for drought tolerance. The results confirm genotype differences in water-deficit tolerance in line with earlier results from field trials. The transcriptomics survey highlighted a total of 14,187 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) that responded to water deficit. The characterization of these genes shows that all chromosomes contribute to water-deficit tolerance, but to different degrees, and the B genome showed higher involvement than the A and D genomes. The DEGs were mainly mapped to flavonoid, phenylpropanoid, and diterpenoid biosynthesis pathways, as well as glutathione metabolism and hormone signaling. Furthermore, extracellular region, apoplast, cell periphery, and external encapsulating structure were the main water deficit-responsive cellular components in roots. A total of 1,377 DEGs were also predicted to function as transcription factors (TFs) from different families regulating downstream cascades. TFs from the AP2/ERF-ERF, MYB-related, B3, WRKY, Tify, and NAC families were the main genotype-specific regulatory factors. To further characterize the dynamic biosynthetic pathways, protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks were constructed using significant KEGG proteins and putative TFs. In PPIs, enzymes from the CYP450, TaABA8OH2, PAL, and GST families play important roles in water-deficit tolerance in connection with MYB13-1, MADS-box, and NAC transcription factors.


root development; wheat; water deficit; DEGs; functional analysis; PPI

Published in

Frontiers in Plant Science
2021, volume: 12, article number: 710867

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Biology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Biology
Bihamta, Mohammad Reza
University of Tehran
Alipour, Hadi
Urmia University
Taleei, Alireza
University of Tehran
Khoshnoodi Jabar Abadi, Shaghayegh
University of Tehran

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

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