Variability and expression profile of the DRF1 gene in four cultivars of durum wheat and one triticale under moderate water stress conditions

Abstract

The dehydration responsive element binding (DREB) proteins are important transcription factors that contribute to stress endurance in plants triggering the expression of a set of abiotic stress-related genes. A DREB2-related gene, previously referred to as dehydration responsive factor 1 (DRF1) was originally isolated and characterized in durum wheat. The aim of this study was to monitor the expression profiles of three alternatively spliced TdDRF1 transcripts during dehydration experiments and to evaluate the effects of genetic diversity on the molecular response, using experimental conditions reflecting as closely as possible water stress perceived by cereals in open field. To investigate the effect of moderate water stress conditions, time-course dehydration experiments were carried out under controlled conditions in the greenhouse on four durum wheat and one triticale genotypes. Differences were observed in molecular patterns, thus, suggesting a genotype dependency of the DRF1 gene expression in response to the stress induced. The biodiversity of the transcripts of the DRF1 gene was explored in order to assess the level of polymorphism and its possible effects on structure and function of putative proteins. A total of nine haplotypes were identified in the sequences cloned, seven of which encompassing polymorphisms in exon 4, including the region codifying for the DNA binding Apetala2 (AP2) domain. The 3D structural models of the AP2 domain were generated by homology modelling using the variability observed. The polymorphisms analysed did not significantly affect the structural arrangement of the DNA binding domains, thus resulting compatible with the putative functionality.

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Abbreviations

DREB:

Dehydration responsive element binding

DRF1 :

Dehydration responsive factor 1

AP2:

Apetala2

DRE:

Dehydration responsive element

NLS:

Nuclear localization signal

SWC:

Soil water content

RWC:

Leaf relative water content

FW:

Fresh weight

TW:

Turgid weight

DW:

Dry weight

RT-PCR:

Real time polymerase chain reaction

CDS:

Coding DNA sequence

MFC:

Mean fold change

Rmsd:

Root mean square deviation

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Acknowledgments

Authors are grateful to Dr. Serena Guida and Dr. M. Dettori for useful criticism during preparation of the manuscript; Mr. F. Felici for the scrupulous greenhouse work; Dr. E. Tosi for his precious help during the real-time RT-PCR experiments; Mrs. Marian Shields for revision of English text. This work was partially supported by the High Relevance Mexico-Italy Project of the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry; RIADE Project (Integrated Research for Applying new technologies and processes for combating Desertification, MIUR); FRUMISIS Project (MIPAF); COST FA0604 Tritigen Project. A fellowship of the Mexican Government, “Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores”, was awarded to A. L. for two stages at CIMMYT (Mexico).

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Correspondence to Patrizia Galeffi.

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A. Latini and M. Sperandei contributed equally to the article.

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Latini, A., Sperandei, M., Cantale, C. et al. Variability and expression profile of the DRF1 gene in four cultivars of durum wheat and one triticale under moderate water stress conditions. Planta 237, 967–978 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-012-1816-6

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Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • DRF1 gene
  • Expression profile
  • Water stress