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Understanding the Role of the WRKY Gene Family under Stress Conditions in Pigeonpea (Cajanus Cajan L.)

1
National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali, Punjab 140306 India
2
Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226031, India
3
Meerut Institute of Engineering and Technology, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh 250005, India
4
National Institute for Plant Biotechnology, New Delhi 110012, India
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2019, 8(7), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8070214
Received: 1 June 2019 / Revised: 27 June 2019 / Accepted: 29 June 2019 / Published: 10 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Abstract

Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan L.), a protein-rich legume, is a major food component of the daily diet for residents in semi-arid tropical regions of the word. Pigeonpea is also known for its high level of tolerance against biotic and abiotic stresses. In this regard, understanding the genes involved in stress tolerance has great importance. In the present study, identification, and characterization of WRKY, a large transcription factor gene family involved in numerous biological processes like seed germination, metabolism, plant growth, biotic and abiotic stress responses was performed in pigeonpea. A total of 94 WRKY genes identified in the pigeonpea genome were extensively characterized for gene-structures, localizations, phylogenetic distribution, conserved motif organizations, and functional annotation. Phylogenetic analysis revealed three major groups (I, II, and III) of pigeonpea WRKY genes. Subsequently, expression profiling of 94 CcWRKY genes across different tissues like root, nodule, stem, petiole, petal, sepal, shoot apical meristem (SAM), mature pod, and mature seed retrieved from the available RNAseq data identified tissue-specific WRKY genes with preferential expression in the vegetative and reproductive stages. Gene co-expression networks identified four WRKY genes at the center of maximum interaction which may play a key role in the entire WRKY regulations. Furthermore, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) expression analysis of WRKY genes in root and leaf tissue samples from plants under drought and salinity stress identified differentially expressed WRKY genes. The study will be helpful to understand the evolution, regulation, and distribution of the WRKY gene family, and additional exploration for the development of stress tolerance cultivars in pigeonpea and other legumes crops. View Full-Text
Keywords: transcription factors; WRKY domain; gene expressing profiling; stress tolerance; drought; high salinity  transcription factors; WRKY domain; gene expressing profiling; stress tolerance; drought; high salinity 
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Singh, A.; Singh, P.K.; Sharma, A.K.; Singh, N.K.; Sonah, H.; Deshmukh, R.; Sharma, T.R. Understanding the Role of the WRKY Gene Family under Stress Conditions in Pigeonpea (Cajanus Cajan L.). Plants 2019, 8, 214.

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