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Comparative flower transcriptome network analysis reveals DEGs involved in chickpea reproductive success during salinity

Kaashyap, M., Ford, R., Mann, A., Varshney, R.K.ORCID: 0000-0002-4562-9131, Siddique, K.H.M. and Mantri, N. (2022) Comparative flower transcriptome network analysis reveals DEGs involved in chickpea reproductive success during salinity. Plants, 11 (3). Art. 434.

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Salinity is increasingly becoming a significant problem for the most important yet intrinsically salt-sensitive grain legume chickpea. Chickpea is extremely sensitive to salinity during the reproductive phase. Therefore, it is essential to understand the molecular mechanisms by comparing the transcriptomic dynamics between the two contrasting genotypes in response to salt stress. Chickpea exhibits considerable genetic variation amongst improved cultivars, which show better yields in saline conditions but still need to be enhanced for sustainable crop production. Based on previous extensive multi-location physiological screening, two identified genotypes, JG11 (salt-tolerant) and ICCV2 (salt-sensitive), were subjected to salt stress to evaluate their phenological and transcriptional responses. RNA-Sequencing is a revolutionary tool that allows for comprehensive transcriptome profiling to identify genes and alleles associated with stress tolerance and sensitivity. After the first flowering, the whole flower from stress-tolerant and sensitive genotypes was collected. A total of ~300 million RNA-Seq reads were sequenced, resulting in 2022 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in response to salt stress. Genes involved in flowering time such as FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) and pollen development such as ABORTED MICROSPORES (AMS), rho-GTPase, and pollen-receptor kinase were significantly differentially regulated, suggesting their role in salt tolerance. In addition to this, we identify a suite of essential genes such as MYB proteins, MADS-box, and chloride ion channel genes, which are crucial regulators of transcriptional responses to salinity tolerance. The gene set enrichment analysis and functional annotation of these genes in flower development suggest that they can be potential candidates for chickpea crop improvement for salt tolerance.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Crop and Food Innovation
Food Futures Institute
Western Australian State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2022 The Authors.
United Nations SDGs: Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
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