National Research Council of Italy

Institute of Biosciences and BioResources

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Identification of new intrinsic yield genes using cross-species network analysis in plants

Pasquale Luca Curci 
IBBR - UOS Bari - Italy

December 16, 2020 (11:30-12:30)
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Abstract: Leaves are fundamental organs for photosynthesis and contribute to a large part of plant biomass production. Leaf development is complex process orchestrated by numerous genes regulating size, shape and differentiation. Cell proliferation and cell expansion are the two main growth processes governing leaf development and involve genes, here referred to as intrinsic yield (IY) genes, that control plant growth, and have a demonstrated role in regulating cell number and/or cell size in leaf during its developmental process. In this study, high-resolution transcript profiling data for Arabidopsis thaliana, maize (Zea mays) and aspen (Populus tremula) were leveraged to determine transcriptional gene networks underlying cell division and cell expansion in leaves. A cross-species approach was then used to detect conserved co-expression modules representing gene network conservation. The most conserved gene networks mainly covered core processes such as photosynthesis, translation, and cell proliferation. From the conserved gene networks, the 87% of the Arabidopsis known IY genes showed cross-species network conservation. Subsequently, we used the guilt-by-association approach, guided by known IY genes as baits, to predict new IY gene candidates from the conserved networks. Highly-conserved IY candidate genes were evaluated using a large-scale phenotyping database and showed a significant enrichment for leaf-related phenotypes. An in-depth literature screening on the top 100 IY gene candidates found also that 34 had a reported leaf size phenotype when mutated. These IY gene candidates were involved in cell cycle, plant defense responses, gibberellin, auxin and brassinosteroid signaling, and a subset of them was experimentally validated in Arabidopsis. In conclusion, the cross-species network analysis here presented is a novel approach to identify new conserved yield-related genes and accelerate plant breeding

Author's Info:

Webinar Organization Group

Istituto di Bioscienze e Biorisorse (IBBR/CNR)
Via G. Amendola 165/A, I-70126 Bari (Italy)
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