As the diploid progenitor of common wheat, Aegilops tauschii
is considered to be a valuable resistance source to various biotic and abiotic stresses. However, little has been reported concerning the molecular mechanism of drought tolerance in Ae. tauschii
. In this work, the drought tolerance of 155 Ae. tauschii
accessions was firstly screened on the basis of their coleoptile lengths under simulated drought stress. Subsequently, two accessions (XJ002 and XJ098) with contrasting coleoptile lengths were selected and intensively analyzed on rate of water loss (RWL) as well as physiological characters, confirming the difference in drought tolerance at the seedling stage. Further, RNA-seq was utilized for global transcriptome profiling of the two accessions seedling leaves under drought stress conditions. A total of 6969 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) associated with drought tolerance were identified, and their functional annotations demonstrated that the stress response was mediated by pathways involving alpha-linolenic acid metabolism, starch and sucrose metabolism, peroxisome, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling, carbon fixation in photosynthetic organisms, and glycerophospholipid metabolism. In addition, DEGs with obvious differences between the two accessions were intensively analyzed, indicating that the expression level of DEGs was basically in alignment with the physiological changes of Ae. tauschii
under drought stress. The results not only shed fundamental light on the regulatory process of drought tolerance in Ae. tauschii
, but also provide a new gene resource for improving the drought tolerance of common wheat.
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