Dissecting molecular mechanisms underlying salt tolerance in rice: a comparative transcriptional profiling of the contrasting genotypes

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Abstract

Background: Salinity expansion in arable land is a threat to crop plants. Rice is the staple food crop across several countries worldwide; however, its salt sensitive nature severely affects its growth under excessive salinity. FL478 is a salt tolerant indica recombinant inbred line, which can be a good source of salt tolerance at the seedling stage in rice. To learn about the genetic basis of its tolerance to salinity, we compared transcriptome profiles of FL478 and its sensitive parent (IR29) using RNA-seq technique. Results: A total of 1714 and 2670 genes were found differentially expressed (DEGs) under salt stress compared to normal conditions in FL478 and IR29, respectively. Gene ontology analysis revealed the enrichment of transcripts involved in salinity response, regulation of gene expression, and transport in both genotypes. Comparative transcriptome analysis revealed that 1063 DEGs were co-expressed, while 338/252 and 572/908 DEGs were exclusively up/down-regulated in FL478 and IR29, respectively. Further, some biological processes (e.g. iron ion transport, response to abiotic stimulus, and oxidative stress) and molecular function terms (e.g. zinc ion binding and cation transmembrane transporter activity) were specifically enriched in FL478 up-regulated transcripts. Based on the metabolic pathways analysis, genes encoding transport and major intrinsic proteins transporter superfamily comprising aquaporin subfamilies and genes involved in MAPK signaling and signaling receptor kinases were specifically enriched in FL478. A total of 1135 and 1894 alternative splicing events were identified in transcripts of FL478 and IR29, respectively. Transcripts encoding two potassium transporters and two major facilitator family transporters were specifically up-regulated in FL478 under salt stress but not in the salt sensitive genotype. Remarkably, 11 DEGs were conversely regulated in the studied genotypes; for example, OsZIFL, OsNAAT, OsGDSL, and OsELIP genes were up-regulated in FL478, while they were down-regulated in IR29. Conclusions: The achieved results suggest that FL478 employs more efficient mechanisms (especially in signal transduction of salt stress, influx and transport of k + , ionic and osmotic homeostasis, as well as ROS inhibition) to respond to the salt stress compared to its susceptible parent.

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Mirdar Mansuri, R., Shobbar, Z. S., Babaeian Jelodar, N., Ghaffari, M. R., Nematzadeh, G. A., & Asari, S. (2019). Dissecting molecular mechanisms underlying salt tolerance in rice: a comparative transcriptional profiling of the contrasting genotypes. Rice, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12284-019-0273-2

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