Nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE) is a complex trait of great interest in breeding programs because through its improvement, high crop yields can be maintained whilst N supply is reduced. In this study, we report a transcriptomic analysis of four NUE-contrasting eggplant (Solanum melongena) genotypes following short- and long-term exposure to low N, to identify key genes related to NUE in the roots and shoots. The differentially expressed genes in the high-NUE genotypes are involved in the light-harvesting complex and receptor, a ferredoxin-NADP reductase, a catalase and WRKY33. These genes were then used as bait for a co-expression gene network analysis in order to identify genes with the same trends in expression. This showed that up-regulation of WRKY33 triggered higher expression of a cluster of 21 genes and also of other genes, many of which were related to N-metabolism, that were able to improve both nitrogen uptake efficiency and nitrogen utilization efficiency, the two components of NUE. We also conducted an independent de novo experiment to validate the significantly higher expression of WRKY33 and its gene cluster in the high-NUE genotypes. Finally, examination of an Arabidopsis transgenic 35S::AtWRKY33 overexpression line showed that it had a bigger root system and was more efficient at taking up N from the soil, confirming the pivotal role of WRKY33 for NUE improvement.

Transcriptomics reveal new insights into molecular regulation of nitrogen use efficiency in Solanum melongena

Abenavoli M. R.;Aci M. M.;Sunseri F.
;
Lupini A.
2021

Abstract

Nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE) is a complex trait of great interest in breeding programs because through its improvement, high crop yields can be maintained whilst N supply is reduced. In this study, we report a transcriptomic analysis of four NUE-contrasting eggplant (Solanum melongena) genotypes following short- and long-term exposure to low N, to identify key genes related to NUE in the roots and shoots. The differentially expressed genes in the high-NUE genotypes are involved in the light-harvesting complex and receptor, a ferredoxin-NADP reductase, a catalase and WRKY33. These genes were then used as bait for a co-expression gene network analysis in order to identify genes with the same trends in expression. This showed that up-regulation of WRKY33 triggered higher expression of a cluster of 21 genes and also of other genes, many of which were related to N-metabolism, that were able to improve both nitrogen uptake efficiency and nitrogen utilization efficiency, the two components of NUE. We also conducted an independent de novo experiment to validate the significantly higher expression of WRKY33 and its gene cluster in the high-NUE genotypes. Finally, examination of an Arabidopsis transgenic 35S::AtWRKY33 overexpression line showed that it had a bigger root system and was more efficient at taking up N from the soil, confirming the pivotal role of WRKY33 for NUE improvement.
Aubergine
coordinated gene network (CGN)
eggplant
ferredoxin-NADP reductase (FNR)
light reaction complex genes (LHCs)
nitrogen use efficiency (NUE)
RNAseq
Solanum melongena
transcriptomic
WRKY33
Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
Plant Breeding
Transcriptome
Nitrogen
Solanum melongena
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/118740
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