Identification of Candidate Genes Regulating Drought Tolerance in Pearl Millet

Chakraborty, A and Viswanath, A and Malipatil, R and Semalaiyappan, J and Shah, P and Ronanki, S and Rathore, A and Singh, S P and Govindaraj, M and Tonapi, V A. and Thirunavukkarasu, N (2022) Identification of Candidate Genes Regulating Drought Tolerance in Pearl Millet. International Journal of Molecular Sciences (TSI), 23 (13). ISSN 1422-0067

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Pearl millet is an important crop of the arid and semi-arid ecologies to sustain food and fodder production. The greater tolerance to drought stress attracts us to examine its cellular and molecular mechanisms via functional genomics approaches to augment the grain yield. Here, we studied the drought response of 48 inbreds representing four different maturity groups at the flow-ering stage. A set of 74 drought-responsive genes were separated into five major phylogenic groups belonging to eight functional groups, namely ABA signaling, hormone signaling, ion and osmotic homeostasis, TF-mediated regulation, molecular adaptation, signal transduction, physiological ad-aptation, detoxification, which were comprehensively studied. Among the conserved motifs of the drought-responsive genes, the protein kinases and MYB domain proteins were the most conserved ones. Comparative in-silico analysis of the drought genes across millet crops showed foxtail millet had most orthologs with pearl millet. Of 698 haplotypes identified across millet crops, MyC2 and Myb4 had maximum haplotypes. The protein–protein interaction network identified ABI2, P5CS, CDPK, DREB, MYB, and CYP707A3 as major hub genes. The expression assay showed the presence of common as well as unique drought-responsive genes across maturity groups. Drought tolerant genotypes in respective maturity groups were identified from the expression pattern of genes. Among several gene families, ABA signaling, TFs, and signaling proteins were the prospective con-tributors to drought tolerance across maturity groups. The functionally validated genes could be used as promising candidates in backcross breeding, genomic selection, and gene-editing schemes in pearl millet and other millet crops to increase the yield in drought-prone arid and semi-arid ecol-ogies.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Global Research Program - Accelerated Crop Improvement
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pearl millet, drought, functional genes, candidate genes, molecular mechanisms
Subjects: Mandate crops > Millets > Pearl Millet
Others > Drought
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh MNR
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2022 08:59
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 13:26
Official URL:
Funders: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project [INV- 008187], ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research project [CI/2018-23/120], HarvestPlus pearl millet project [HP#5403], The APC was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project [INV-008187]
Acknowledgement: The experiment was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project [INV-008187], ICAR-Indian Institute of Millets Research project [CI/2018-23/120] and HarvestPlus pearl millet project [HP#5403].
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