Genome-wide analysis of drought induced gene expression changes in flax (Linum usitatissimum).

Dash, P.K., Cao, Y., Jailani, A., Gupta, P., Venglat, S.P., Xiang, D., Rai, R., Sharma, R., Thirunavukkarasu, N., Abdin, M., Yadava, D., Singh, N., Singh, J., Selvaraj, G., Deyholos, M.K., Kumar, P.A., and Datla, R.S.S. (2014). "Genome-wide analysis of drought induced gene expression changes in flax (Linum usitatissimum).", GM Crops & Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain, 5(2), pp. 106-119. doi : 10.4161/gmcr.29742  Access to full text


A robust phenotypic plasticity to ward off adverse environmental conditions determines performance and productivity in crop plants. Flax (linseed), is an important cash crop produced for natural textile fiber (linen) or oilseed with many health promoting products. This crop is prone to drought stress and yield losses in many parts of the world. Despite recent advances in drought research in a number of important crops, related progress in flax is very limited. Since, response of this plant to drought stress has not been addressed at the molecular level; we conducted microarray analysis to capture transcriptome associated with induced drought in flax. This study identified 183 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) associated with diverse cellular, biophysical and metabolic programs in flax. The analysis also revealed especially the altered regulation of cellular and metabolic pathways governing photosynthesis. Additionally, comparative transcriptome analysis identified a plethora of genes that displayed differential regulation both spatially and temporally. These results revealed co-regulated expression of 26 genes in both shoot and root tissues with implications for drought stress response. Furthermore, the data also showed that more genes are upregulated in roots compared to shoots, suggesting that roots may play important and additional roles in response to drought in flax. With prolonged drought treatment, the number of DEGs increased in both tissue types. Differential expression of selected genes was confirmed by qRT-PCR, thus supporting the suggested functional association of these intrinsic genes in maintaining growth and homeostasis in response to imminent drought stress in flax. Together the present study has developed foundational and new transcriptome data sets for drought stress in flax.

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