De-novo transcriptome analysis unveils differentially expressed genes regulating drought and salt stress response in Panicum sumatrense
AbstractScreening the transcriptome of drought tolerant variety of little millet (Panicum sumatrense), a marginally cultivated, nutritionally rich, susbsistent crop, can identify genes responsible for its hardiness and enable identification of new sources of genetic variation which can be used for crop improvement. RNA-Seq generated ~ 230 million reads from control and treated tissues, which were assembled into 86,614 unigenes. In silico differential gene expression analysis created an overview of patterns of gene expression during exposure to drought and salt stress. Separate gene expression profiles for leaf and root tissue revealed the differences in regulatory mechanisms operating in these tissues during exposure to abiotic stress. Several transcription factors were identified and studied for differential expression. 61 differentially expressed genes were found to be common to both tissues under drought and salinity stress and were further validated using qRT-PCR. Transcriptome of P. sumatrense was also used to mine for genic SSR markers relevant to abiotic stress tolerance. This study is first report on a detailed analysis of molecular mechanisms of drought and salinity stress tolerance in a little millet variety. Resources generated in this study can be used as potential candidates for further characterization and to improve abiotic stress tolerance in food crops.