Nitrate uptake by plants primarily relies on two gene families: Nitrate transporter 1/peptide transporter (NPF) and Nitrate transporter 2 (NRT2). Here, we extensively characterized the NPF and NRT2 families in the durum wheat genome, revealing 211 NPF and 20 NRT2 genes. The two families share many Cis Regulatory Elements (CREs) and Transcription Factor binding sites, highlighting a partially overlapping regulatory system and suggesting a coordinated response for nitrate transport and utilization. Analyzing RNA-seq data from 9 tissues and 20 cultivars, we explored expression profiles and co-expression relationships of both gene families. We observed a strong correlation between nucleotide variation and gene expression within the NRT2 gene family, implicating a shared selection mechanism operating on both coding and regulatory regions. Furthermore, NPF genes showed highly tissue-specific expression profiles, while NRT2s were mainly divided in two co-expression modules, one expressed in roots (NAR2/NRT3 dependent) and the other induced in anthers and/ovaries during maturation. Our evidences confirmed that the majority of these genes were retained after small-scale duplication events, suggesting a neo- or sub-functionalization of many NPFs and NRT2s. Altogether, these findings indicate that the expansion of these gene families in durum wheat could provide valuable genetic variability useful to identify NUE-related and candidate genes for future breeding programs in the context of low-impact and sustainable agriculture.

Exploring the genetic landscape of nitrogen uptake in durum wheat: genome-wide characterization and expression profiling of NPF and NRT2 gene families

Sunseri F.;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Nitrate uptake by plants primarily relies on two gene families: Nitrate transporter 1/peptide transporter (NPF) and Nitrate transporter 2 (NRT2). Here, we extensively characterized the NPF and NRT2 families in the durum wheat genome, revealing 211 NPF and 20 NRT2 genes. The two families share many Cis Regulatory Elements (CREs) and Transcription Factor binding sites, highlighting a partially overlapping regulatory system and suggesting a coordinated response for nitrate transport and utilization. Analyzing RNA-seq data from 9 tissues and 20 cultivars, we explored expression profiles and co-expression relationships of both gene families. We observed a strong correlation between nucleotide variation and gene expression within the NRT2 gene family, implicating a shared selection mechanism operating on both coding and regulatory regions. Furthermore, NPF genes showed highly tissue-specific expression profiles, while NRT2s were mainly divided in two co-expression modules, one expressed in roots (NAR2/NRT3 dependent) and the other induced in anthers and/ovaries during maturation. Our evidences confirmed that the majority of these genes were retained after small-scale duplication events, suggesting a neo- or sub-functionalization of many NPFs and NRT2s. Altogether, these findings indicate that the expansion of these gene families in durum wheat could provide valuable genetic variability useful to identify NUE-related and candidate genes for future breeding programs in the context of low-impact and sustainable agriculture.
2023
N uptake
NPF and NRT2 family
Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE)
Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis (WGCNA)
durum wheat
nitrate transporters
nitrogen
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/142348
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