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Summer Research Fellowship Programme of India's Science Academies

Exploring the role of candidate stress responsive genes and promoters in Cicer arietinum L.

Sumita Kumari

Assistant Professor, School of Biotechnology, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Scienecs and Technology of Jammu, J&K, India180009

Debasis Chattopadhyay

Staff Scientist VII, National Institute of Plant Genome Research, Aruna Asif Ali Marg, New Delhi110067

Abstract

Chickpea, an economically important crop grown in semi-arid tropics, ranks fourth amongst legumes in terms of its production. India ranks first, contributing 68% of the total global production. Besides being a good source of crude protein (20–30%), carbohydrate (40%), and oil (3–6%), chickpea seeds are also a good source of other minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Environmental vagaries detrimentally affect its yield. Drought and salinity are the major abiotic stresses affecting the overall yield. Plant adaptability to changing soil condition as a consequence of these stresses is largely determined by root system architecture (RSA). Previously, deep sequencing was used to perform microRNA expression profiling in root apex of chickpea in order to investigate post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in response to salinity and water deficit. Small RNA expression analysis in root apex has led to identification of differentially expressed miRNAs and their targets through in-silico analysis. Expression level of miR397, Car-novmiR2 and Car-miR5507 which target Laccase 4, High affinity K+-transporter HAK5 and CBL-interacting protein kinase 23 (CIPK23), respectively were found to be upregulated several fold in the PEG- and salt-treated samples. Laccase genes have been reported to be involved in lignin biosynthesis. Lignification of roots has been associated with tolerance to water scarcity. K+ transporter genes and CBL interacting kinases have also been reported previously to be involved in plant stress responses. However, the precise function of these genes has not been deciphered yet in chickpea. This study is therefore targeted at characterization of these genes and their corresponding promoters to comment on their stress specific role. These candidates could help us to understand the genotype specific stress response in chickpea against drought and salinity as well as in engineering stress resilient plants.

Keywords: Chickpea, abiotic stress, Laccase, K+ transporter, CBL interacting Kinase

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