RNA-seq analysis reveals different drought tolerance mechanisms in two broadly adapted wheat cultivars 'TAM 111' and 'TAM 112'. Academic Article uri icon


  • Wheat cultivars 'TAM 111' and 'TAM 112' have been dominantly grown in the Southern U.S. Great Plains for many years due to their high yield and drought tolerance. To identify the molecular basis and genetic control of drought tolerance in these two landmark cultivars, RNA-seq analysis was conducted to compare gene expression difference in flag leaves under fully irrigated (wet) and water deficient (dry) conditions. A total of 2254 genes showed significantly altered expression patterns under dry and wet conditions in the two cultivars. TAM 111 had 593 and 1532 dry-wet differentially expressed genes (DEGs), and TAM 112 had 777 and 1670 at heading and grain-filling stages, respectively. The two cultivars have 1214 (53.9%) dry-wet DEGs in common, which agreed with their excellent adaption to drought, but 438 and 602 dry-wet DEGs were respectively shown only in TAM 111 and TAM 112 suggested that each has a specific mechanism to cope with drought. Annotations of all 2254 genes showed 1855 have functions related to biosynthesis, stress responses, defense responses, transcription factors and cellular components related to ion or protein transportation and signal transduction. Comparing hierarchical structure of biological processes, molecule functions and cellular components revealed the significant regulation differences between TAM 111 and TAM 112, particularly for genes of phosphorylation and adenyl ribonucleotide binding, and proteins located in nucleus and plasma membrane. TAM 112 showed more active than TAM 111 in response to drought and carried more specific genes with most of them were up-regulated in responses to stresses of water deprivation, heat and oxidative, ABA-induced signal pathway and transcription regulation. In addition, 258 genes encoding predicted uncharacterized proteins and 141 unannotated genes with no similar sequences identified in the databases may represent novel genes related to drought response in TAM 111 or TAM 112. This research thus revealed different drought-tolerance mechanisms in TAM 111 and TAM 112 and identified useful drought tolerance genes for wheat adaption. Data of gene sequence and expression regulation from this study also provided useful information of annotating novel genes associated with drought tolerance in the wheat genome.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

altmetric score

  • 6.65

author list (cited authors)

  • Chu, C., Wang, S., Paetzold, L. i., Wang, Z., Hui, K., Rudd, J. C., ... Liu, S.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Chu, Chenggen||Wang, Shichen||Paetzold, Li||Wang, Zhen||Hui, Kele||Rudd, Jackie C||Xue, Qingwu||Ibrahim, Amir MH||Metz, Richard||Johnson, Charles D||Rush, Charles M||Liu, Shuyu

publication date

  • February 2021