Transcriptional networks revealed late embryogenesis abundant genes regulating drought mitigation in aromatic Keteki Joha rice

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Physiol Plant. 2024 May-Jun;176(3):e14348. doi: 10.1111/ppl.14348.

ABSTRACT

Climate change has become increasingly intertwined with the occurrence and severity of droughts. As global temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, weather patterns are altered, leading to shifts in precipitation levels and distribution. These exacerbate the risk of drought in many regions, with potentially devastating consequences. A comprehensive transcriptome analysis was performed on Keteki Joha, an aromatic rice from North East India, with the aim of elucidating molecular responses to drought. Numerous genes linked to drought were activated, with both ABA-dependent and ABA-independent pathways playing crucial roles. Upregulated genes were enriched with gene ontology terms with response to abscisic acid and abscisic acid-activated signalling pathway, suggesting the existence of an ABA-dependent pathway for drought mitigation. The upregulated genes were also enriched with responses to stress, water, heat, jasmonic acid, and hydrogen peroxide, indicating the presence of an ABA-independent pathway alongside the ABA-dependent mechanism. Weighted Correlation Network Analysis (WGCNA) identified 267 genes that specifically govern drought mitigation in Keteki Joha. The late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) gene family emerges as the most overrepresented in both RNA sequencing data and WGCNA analysis, suggesting their dominant role in mitigating drought. Notably, 31 LEA genes were induced in seedlings and 32 in mature stages under drought stress. The LEA3-1, LEA14/WSI18, RAB16A, RAB16B, DHN1, DHN6, LEA1, LEA3, LEA17, and LEA33 exhibited and established co-expression with numerous other drought stress-related genes, indicating their inseparable role in alleviating drought. Consequently, LEA genes have been proposed to be primary and crucial responders to drought in Keteki Joha.

PMID:38769068 | DOI:10.1111/ppl.14348